A petition has been launched that calls for health workers such as district nurses to be given greater parking freedoms when performing care duties in the community.
The petition is demanding care professionals be made exempt from parking tickets and be allowed to leave their vehicles on single and double yellow lines when they are treating patients at home.
“This is an issue that causes a lot of concern and stress to nurses working in the community”
The campaigners behind the initiative say parking problems are a cause of “concern and stress” to nurses in the community whose work prevents people needing a hospital bed.
The petition states: “Care workers, district nurse,emergency services and doctors find it difficult to park when delivering a care service. If they display a notice,when parked on yellow lines, explaining they’re there for a reason,they should be exempt from parking tickets within a certain time frame.
“The health services are under massive constraints and strains and are extremely limited to time. Parking issues need to be addressed. Councils pay for care to be delivered but penalise those very people when parking is unavailable,” it adds.
At the time of writing, the petition, which will be live until September 12, had received more than 2,200 signatures. The issue will be considered for debate in parliament if the number hits 100,000.
Connor Kirby-Gill, a member of the Barnet district nursing team at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, has backed the petition.
He said: “Parking is an issue that I know many fellow colleagues have. We are expected to deliver a crucial service to the Barnet population but are having barriers put up by limits on parking and the issuing of parking permits.”
Mr Kirby-Gill said: “The patients we care for are of the most vulnerable in the borough and without our input would have no option but to be admitted to hospital and receive ongoing treatment in the acute setting.
“This not only takes up all ready limited acute beds but with these patients generally having conditions that are chronic mean patients would spend prolonged periods in hospital,” he said.
“If patient demand and need requires a community nursing service then we must be given the necessary resources and capability to do so,” he added.
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The petition, set up by Elizabeth Pearce, is also being supported by the Queen’s Nursing Institute. A spokesman said: “This is an issue that causes a lot of concern and stress to nurses working in the community.”
He said: “We think it is important that people have the opportunity to raise their concerns and for policy makers to debate the issue.
“This isn’t about allowing healthcare workers to park on double yellow lines, which could be dangerous, but asking local authorities, healthcare providers and private parking agencies to look at pragmatic and effective responses to a real problem,” he added.
End-of-life care charity Marie Curie has also backed the petition.
A spokeswoman said: “We believe healthcare workers should be given greater parking freedoms when performing vital care duties in the community.
“Our own Marie Curie nurses often face issues with car parking, either having to park a distance from a patient’s home, or receiving fines while they are administering care to a patient with a terminal illness in their own home,” she said.
The spokeswoman added: “No healthcare professional should have to worry about the stress and strain of finding a place to park, or car parking fines while they are delivering care in the community.”
Parking rules are set by local authorities and will vary in different parts of the country. Some councils already offer special parking arrangements for district nurses and other community health workers.
- For more information on the petition – titled Make health workers exempt from parking tickets when delivering a public service – or to sign it, visit the parliament petitions website.