VISITORS and patients to the John Radcliffe Hospital gave a mixed reaction to a hike in parking charges of up to 87 per cent.

Bosses at Oxford’s John Radcliffe, Churchill, Nuffield Orthopaedic and Banbury’s Horton General said the reason behind the rise was to meet maintenance costs.

Up to 30 minutes is still free but other charges are: up to an hour £1.40 (£1 before); up to two hours £2.80 (£2); up to three hours £4.20 (£2.50); up to four hours £5.60 (£3) and more than four hours £7 (£4).

Banbury’s Donna Birt, 47, taking carpenter husband Kevin to a liver biopsy, said: “It should be free. I don’t mind paying a couple of pounds but not that much.”

Mr Birt, 52, said: “We live in a world where you pay for everything but it is a bit much.”

But Linzi Weatherson, 24, from Fareham, Hampshire said she was “more than happy” with the cost as Southampton NHS hospitals charge £31 for the day.

The interpreter, visiting a friend, said: “The first couple of hours should be free if you are just visiting. I don’t mind for shopping, but not for hospitals.”

Pauline Edwards, 62, said the £2.80 she paid to visit 68-year-old husband Clyde, who has stomach cancer, was “appalling”.

The Sutton Courtenay resident said: “I expected to have a pass or something, £2.80 is a lot, it is ridiculous.”

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said charges had not gone up since 2006 and old charges were “no longer at a sustainable level”.

Surplus cash goes into patient care, it said.