A Birmingham hospital has admitted that every penny it gets in from parking goes straight into the coffers of a private company.

The NHS is potentially missing out on millions of pounds a year generated from car parking fees that could be going into the coffers of private companies, an investigation has revealed.

The BBC Watchdog investigation found five hospitals, including Birmingham Women's Hospital, where all car parking fees went to private operators.

Hospital trusts and health boards in the UK rely heavily on private companies to run their car parks, with five big hospitals admitting that none of the money made goes back into the NHS.

A nationwide freedom of information request by the BBC’s Watchdog Daily programme found that from 152 responses, 126 hospital trusts and health boards in the UK have car parks that charge for parking.

More than a third of those car parks are run by private companies, but the trusts and health boards behind these car parks did not reveal how much of the money generated goes to the hospital and how much goes to the private company.

Five hospitals did admit that all of the money made from car parking fees went to the private company, with none of it going back into the NHS.

These hospitals are Liverpool Broadgreen, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Birmingham Women’s Hospital, the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, and the Prince Philip Hospital, Carmarthenshire.

Of those that responded to Watchdog Daily’s request - and charge for parking and revealed the amounts - the total figure for money generated from parking fees paid by patients, visitors and staff is £106,642,685 in the last year.

The investigation also found that in the last two years more than 50 hospital trusts have increased their parking charges.

Regional differences show that hospitals in Scotland do not charge for parking, while charges are significantly lower in Northern Ireland than in England.

There is a huge difference in the price depending on the location too, with a charge of £1.50 for 24 hours in Liverpool, compared with £33 for the same time in London.

The Department of Health said: “Patients who need to go to hospital often or for long periods of time have a fundamental right to fair and appropriate car parking concessions, and we expect hospital trusts to provide them.

“NHS organisations set their own car parking policies and should work with their local communities to set them fairly and appropriately.”