More than 17,400 people have signed a petition set up by a healthcare assistant calling for free parking for NHS staff.
The e-petition demands immediate action to end “disgraceful” parking charges for NHS workers and nurses in particular.
“Nurses are on our wards 12 hours a day and do not need the added stress of being charged for parking to do a job the whole country needs them to do,” it states.
The petition was started by nursing assistant Abigail Smith who said she launched the campaign because she felt frontline staff should not have to pay to park at work.
“The parking prices are extortionately high as many car parks are now owned and operated by private companies and many nurses, carers and other frontline staff are suffering,” she said.
“I started this petition because NHS workers shouldn’t have to pay for parking in order to save lives”
The petition – set up on the government’s official site for e-petitions – runs until June next year. If the petition collects more than 100,000 signatures by then the issue will be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
Ms Smith said she did not have to pay for parking herself, as she used a moped to get to work. “It doesn’t affect me but I’m putting everything I have into it,” she said.
“I started this petition because NHS workers shouldn’t have to pay for parking in order to save lives,” she added.
A Department of Health spokesman said parking policies were for individual trusts to decide.
“We know that nurses are working hard to care for their patients, however decisions on the cost of car parking for staff are set locally by individual trusts,” he told Nursing Times.
“We encourage then to take the needs of visitors and staff into consideration when setting their charges,” he added.
Nursing Times campaigned on the issue of parking charges in 2008-09. Our Free Parking campaign called on trusts to drop “unfair” charges for staff.
Should NHS staff ever have to pay to park at work?
We’re going to be debating this question on twitter at 1pm on Wednesday 9 July.
To join in,search for #NTtwitchat and include this hashtag in all your tweets