Epsom Hospital’s car park is a "cash cow" with most of its profits being milked by its management costs, according to a frustrated councillor. 

George Crawford, a former chairman of Epsom council’s health liaison panel, made the claims after submitting a Freedom of Information request to Epsom and St Helier Hospital Trust.

According to the figures released, an income of £782,000 was made from the car park in 2013, with £605,000 used to pay for the management and security costs, which are handled by the Associated Parking Company of America (APCOA).

Responding to the figures Coun Crawford said: "Most of those who responded to my letter published in the Epsom Guardian in January [on car parking fees at Epsom Hospital] were happy to pay the high parking fees in the knowledge that the hospital would benefit.

"From the figures I have received it would appear that the hospital only gets to use £177,000 which is about one quarter of all cash raised.

"I still maintain that Epsom Hospital’s car parking is a cash cow, but is the hospital the beneficiary?"

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Another 30 spaces will be added to Epsom Hospital's car park by the end of March

A spokeswoman for the hospital trust said that the figure originally given to Coun Crawford on the cost of the car park’s management and security - £605,000 - was not actually the year-on-year cost of running the car park. 

She said it was a total list of all the outgoings for that year and included specific ‘one-off’ purchases such as pay stations.   

The spokeswoman said the year-on-year cost for managing the car park in 2013 was £350,000.

She said: "We try to keep our parking fees at a minimum, and importantly, our car park fees have not increased in the past five years.

"Of the total income generated at the car park at Epsom Hospital for 2013, a large sum goes towards paying for car park management.

"The remainder of the income from car parking goes back into the trust fund budget and is spent in a variety of ways."

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Car parking tariffs at Epsom Hospital

The spokeswoman said £251,000 is to be spent creating an additional 30 car parking spaces at Epsom Hospital by the end of March - in parallel with the 100 extra spaces being created at St Helier Hospital.

She added: "We firmly believe having a parking management provider is the most effective and efficient way for us to run our car parks.  By doing so, we can keep our focus on providing our patients with care and inject any remaining profit back into clinical services."

The spokeswoman said management of Epsom Hospital's car park by APCOA includes security of the car park and its running, as well as security of the hospital.  It consists of maintaining the car park and its out buildings; managing the service including staff, cash handling, land rates and charges including rent of the land the trust does not own; travel plans such as cycle to work initiatives; and the staff shuttle bus service.

Parking for up to one hour currently costs £2 at Epsom Hospital.  This increases by £1 each half-an-hour after this.  A stay over the six hours daily maximum costs £12. 

A number of concessions for car parking are available for patients and visitors who need to return to Epsom Hospital for treatment regularly.