At one time, anyone could park almost anywhere. From the 1960's, an insidious car parking industry has grown up which means that people have to pay to park (often with time limits imposed) in streets, hospitals etc.
I have no quarrel with specific car park areas charging for that service, as in NCP, local council or other multi-storey or ground parking units etc. I DO object to street parking restrictions.
There are places where no-one should park. Fine, there can be patrols of wardens to enforce the no-park rules. Anywhere else should be available to park. Private land should have no park notices very prominently displayed and infringement should lead to a fine PAYABLE TO THE COUNCIL NOT TO COMPANIES and there should be no car clamping at all.
The usual meter regimes do not prevent streets or cities becoming congested. On the contrary. They make no difference. There is just a transfer of money from the public to councils. Local councils should make their funds up from local or national taxation, not car parking fees etc.
As to hospitals, I can think of few greater hindrances to the families of the unwell, also to the actually sickl or disabled, than being "ripped off" really by hospital trusts etc. I say let anyone park foor, say, up to 3 hours in hospitals. That will prevent abuse by commuters etc in most cases. Hospitals, like councils, shhould be funded by taxation, not car park fees.