The decision to charge disabled drivers to park at Slough and Ascot's hospitals has been roundly condemned.

Since Monday blue badge owners parking at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough and Heatherwood, Ascot have had to pay, prompting disabled and non-disabled users of the hospital alike to hit out at the decision by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust that runs them.

Edina Harman said: “It’s disgraceful. It’s just another way to make the poor poorer. They know that disabled people will have to visit hospital so much more than anybody else.

“It doesn’t surprise me though. We will have to pay for the air we breath if the government has its own way.”

The trust hasintroduced a system of discounted weekly and monthly tickets costing £15 and £50 respectively, with those on low incomes or benefits able to claim back the price of their tickets.

But there have been complaints that claiming the money back is hard - with one arthritis sufferer claiming people having to walk across the hospital only to find the department they arrive at does not have the right forms and that it can take weeks to get a refund.

The trust said the money claiming back mechanism will now be made clearer.

A spokeswoman said: “This was a very difficult decision for the trust’s board of directors, but it was taken on the principle that charges should be based on affordability for all patients, including blue badge holders. A number of other hospital trusts have also taken this decision.

“We know the changes will not be welcomed by all, but we do feel that on balance the new system will be fairer and the introduction of the discounted ticket for frequent attendees will be a helpful concession.”