Almost £800,000 was raised by parking tickets at St Helens and Whiston hospitals over the past 12 months, the Reporter can today reveal.
NHS chiefs raked in the staggering figure after introducing a doubling of charges part way through the year.
The price rise was announced mid-way through 2013, with patients now charged £3 for a three hour stay and £6 for a six hour visit.
However, hospital bosses say patients are not being deterred from using their parking facilities by what many see as excessive ticketing prices.
None of the cash made by charging folk to park at St Helens and Whiston is spent directly on health services.
Instead the money generated by the ever-controversial tariffs is ploughed back into security and management of the parking facilities themselves.
Parking charges at local hospitals have been an unpalatable, if accepted, way of life in St Helens for visitors and patients for more than a decade.
The money is spent on funding security of the car parks and their management contracts; operating CCTV and the car park maintenance.
Hospital chiefs said parking charges were increased last year to makes charges at both Whiston and St Helens consistent.
Figures obtained by the Reporter show the trust collected £783,648 from parking fares during 2013.
Cash collected by from fees in the 2011/12 financial year stood at £1.1m but that figures includes patient and staff charges.
A trust spokesperson said: “Car parking at both hospital sites is in high demand, rising in line with increased demand for hospital services.
“The trust has introduced a number of concessions in parking charges, including a lower daily rate and a considerable discount for those using the car parking facilities on a regular basis, which is proving extremely popular.
“The trust aims to keep its car parking charges to a minimum, with fees that are amongst the lowest in the region. We make no profit from the revenue of the car parks.”
All income generated is reinvested in car parking facilities, this includes security costs, maintenance fees and estate payments.”