Disabled drivers will be charged to park at Kingston Hospital from January 22.

The change comes into effect when new operator CP Plus takes over management of the car parks.

Charles Hanford, director of estates, facilities and capital development at Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Our priority is to deliver the very best patient care and we need to make sure we can continue to invest in this. The revenue from car parking is used to provide and maintain our car parks and making sure they are secure, and any additional income is put back into patient care.

“In an ideal world we would not have to charge anyone for car parking. The trust, like many others in the country, has taken the decision to bring in car parking charges for blue badge holders to ensure we can continue to invest in car parking improvements and developments.”

Mr Hanford also stressed that those needing financial support for parking costs can gain this through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.

There are currently 30 Blue Badge spaces on the site, but that number is set to increase, with money generated from the charges being used to fund the work.

This is part of a new system of parking, which will now operate on a “pay on exit” ticketless model, using an automatic number plate recognition system.

The new system will allow drivers to pay on credit and debit card (including contactless), as well as give change and accept notes.