Author Topic: Same hands that applauded NHS workers now being used to slap them in the face  (Read 170 times)

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NHS workers will have to pay for parking at hospitals again as Government set to withdraw extra funding after coronavirus crisis

Exclusive: Trade unions are pushing for ministers to extend the free parking scheme for hospital employees

By Hugo Gye
July 7, 2020 9:00 pm
Updated July 7, 2020 8:56 pm

NHS workers will have to start paying for parking at their own hospitals again as the Covid-19 crisis starts to ease, the Government has confirmed.

Doctors, nurses, carers and support staff in England have been allowed to park at their workplace for free since the start of lockdown thanks to funding from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

But ministers have now confirmed they intend to reintroduce charges because the emergency measures “cannot continue indefinitely” – prompting a backlash from trade unions who want to see free parking for staff made permanent.

Around the height of the Covid-19 emergency in March, the department said it would provide funding to all NHS trusts to enable them to abolish parking charges for their staff without having to cut their budgets, while also encouraging workers to drive rather than risk taking public transport.

‘Provide clarity’


NHS staff and members of the public take part in the weekly Clap for Our Carers event at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital in May

Health minister Edward Argar said: “The provision of free parking for National Health Service staff by NHS trusts has not ended and nothing has changed since the announcement on 25 March. However, free parking for staff has only been made possible by support from local authorities and independent providers and this support cannot continue indefinitely.”

Some hospitals in England charge as much as £3.50 per hour for the use of their car parks, including for staff and patients. There are no parking fees at Welsh hospitals or at most Scottish institutions.

Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said: “Removing parking charges for staff during Covid-19 was the right move. Our healthcare workers deserved to have certainty that they could get to work without extra charges or hassle. Now the Government must provide clarity and ensure our workers are not saddled with extortionate parking charges.”

Sara Gorton of Unison, which represents nearly 500,000 NHS employees, said: “Nurses, cleaners and other health workers shouldn’t be punished for simply parking at work so they can save lives and care for patients. The virus problems are far from going away and when this is over, the Government should fund trusts properly so they can scrap staff charges for good.” She added that keeping staff off public transport helped reduce the risk of spreading infection.

A spokesperson for DHSC would not give a date for the reintroduction of parking charges but said: “We want to make sure NHS staff can travel safely to work during the pandemic, which is why we requested that the NHS make parking free for staff, and that local authorities do the same with their car parks.

“As the pandemic begins to ease, the NHS will continue to provide free hospital car parking to key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances. We will provide further updates on this in due course.”

Plans to make parking permanently free for night-shift workers, disabled patients and the parents of ill children – originally due to start in April – will not come fully into effect until January 2021. Hospitals are being encouraged to enact the scheme, promised in the Conservative election manifesto, already but they are not obliged to do so until the end of the year.

A&E parking — The highest prices

Some of the most expensive daily parking rates for A&E at hospitals in England

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London — £77
Whittington Health NHS Trust, London — £72
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London — £52.80
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London – £40
King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London — £29
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London — £25
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, Sussex — £20
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Bedfordshire — £20
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Hampshire — £18.20
 Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Sussex — £18
Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Surrey — £17
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, East Sussex — £16.60
Leeds General Infirmary, West Yorkshire — £16.40
St James’s University Hospital, West Yorkshire — £16.40
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk — £15.60
(Prices date from August 2019)

https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/nhs-workers-pay-parking-hospitals-explained-coronavirus-crisis-498590

 


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