Patients and visitors will have to pay for car parking at Great Western Hospital from October 5.

Charges were suspended and the barriers at the Swindon hospital’s public car parks raised six months ago.

GWH did not give a reason for the reimposition of parking charges, but acknowledged the news was likely to be disappointing.

In a statement, the NHS trust said it hoped the fees would not discourage people from coming to hospital.

On social media, the trust posted: “Over the last six months, we have made car parking free for everybody parking on site at Great Western Hospital. This was to support during the pandemic, as we understood patients might have been accessing hospital services more than usual.

“We would now like to let the public know that, from Monday, October 5, parking will again be chargeable at the hospital in all public car parks. Car park barriers will be lowered, so all patients and visitors will need to press for a ticket on entering the car park and will need to pay for their ticket at one of the pay machines located around the building before returning to your car.

“We know that this will be disappointing for patients and visitors who are attending hospital, but we are pleased to have been able to offer free parking for this long. We do not want parking charges to discourage people from coming to hospital, and want to remind you that our doors are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anybody who needs them.”

Last year, it was revealed GWH had made more than £1.25m from its public car parks. A further £733,000 came from charging staff to park.

At the time, the hospital said the fees funded new car parking equipment and a contactless payment system.