Nurses who are concerned about the level of car parking charges at their hospital should raise the matter with their trust, the government has said in response to Nursing Times’ Free Parking – Clamp Down on Charges campaign.
The campaign, which was launched on 30 September 2008 and ran for three months, called for the abolition of car parking charges for nurses in England – as is already the case in Scotland and Wales – or at the very least for a cap on charges. Part of the campaign involved an online petition to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which the government has now formally responded to.
The government stated that decisions on charges would continue to be made at trust level. It added that NHS organisations had been issued with guidance in 2006 that recommended NHS bodies ‘offer free or reduced price car parking to those staff, patients and visitors who have to use their car parks on a regular and long-term basis’ and that this had been reinforced by a message to all chief executives last November.
‘Hospital staff who are concerned about car parking charges at their hospital may therefore wish to raise this matter with their employer, asking in particular for a response from their chief executive to our message,’ the statement said.
‘If no charges were made, then these unavoidable costs would have to be found from funds otherwise available for patient care. We have taken the view in England that patient care, rather than subsidising car parks, should take priority when it comes to NHS resources,’ the government added.