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Row over car parking charges at NHS hospital

  • 11 Comments

A row has broken out after a hospital in the south of England revealed plans to charge up to £120 a year for staff parking.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust says it wants to introduce the charges to encourage staff to use more environmentally friendly transport options.

A consultation document proposes three options: no charges for staff, an annual fee of £120 or a charge according to pay band.

For part time, bank or agency staff, scratch cards will be available at a cost of £1 per day.

Home or school visitors, ie occupational therapists, midwives and health visitors, will be exempt, along with ambulances and voluntary staff.

A hospital spokesperson said: ‘Many employers cover the cost of car parking through staff charges, including other NHS organisations. The trust approved a travel plan in 2008, which recommended the introduction of staff parking charges to help reduce congestion and encourage greener ways of travelling to the hospital.

We recently completed a consultation process with staff about car parking charges. The Trust Board will make a final decision in the near future taking into account staff responses, costs of providing car parking and good practice elsewhere.’

But UNISON has opposed the proposals. A spokesperson said: ‘Many staff work shifts at times when they can’t get public transport.’

It also warned that other similar schemes have left staff paying for parking – then finding they were often forced to park outside the hospital because of a lack of spaces.

‘Sometimes staff have paid for annual passes and then can’t find parking spaces – they turn up for work and find there is nowhere for them to park,’ the spokesperson added.

  • 11 Comments

Readers' comments (11)

  • i work in a hospital in Essex and we are already paying for our parking of £120 per year, £10 per month, on our wage slip this week we noticed that the charges for parking have gone up by 24p, with out any warning. on phoning payroll they stated that when we signed our agreement first off it was stated that when we received our increment in April the Parking charges would also increase. talk about give it with one hand and take it away with the other!!!

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  • I work in a hospital in Liverpool. Our parking charges went up last year, from £12 a month to £15. I expect to pay as im working in a city hospital. What i dont agree with is that when going in on a late shift i have to drive around for approx 15 mins looking for a space, this is because there are simply not enough spaces for the amount of staff. They should use the extra revenue earned to provide staff with adequate parking facilities.

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  • I work in a hospital in the East Midlands and not only have we had to all re-apply for our permits but are paying £22.00 per month or £33.00 per month, depending on where you are allocated to park, for the privledge of parking 3 miles away from the hospital and having to catch a bus to and from work before and after shift. £120 per year - BARGAIN!

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  • We already pay £250/annum and there are only limited permits, although if you're permanent night staff you get one for 'nights only' (at the full price). The joys of being at a PFI hospital even though Scottish policy is free parking.
    My previous hospital charged (less) for parking permits too, but it was done as a phased process, negotiating with local buses so 10-15min service from 6am til 10pm. Only after that did they start limiting permits for those who lived within 3 miles (unless access issues/school run, bike loans available). You could see where the money went - barriers were installed so you could see if car park had spaces, a 'late staff' car park near hospital which part-time am staff had to leave before 1pm (& although there'd be a queue for it, the days of trawling round the hospital for up to an hour looking for a space went). I'd rather pay a reasonable amount than see patients/visitors/staff unable to park while site is used as a 'park & ride' by commuters. It can work if done in partnership with other services & cost kept reasonable (I don't think £250 is, especially when my alternative is to leave home 2hrs before shift on public transport)

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  • With most things in England costing twice as much as in Canada and nursing wages being significantly lower (half of what I made in Canada), parking rates are much cheaper in England. When I worked in England I couldn't believe how cheap parking was. I presently work at a small community hospital NE of Toronto Canada and am paying $35.00 (approx. 20 pounds)/month no matter how many hours you work. I am also making a lot more money in Canada. Perhaps you should be fighting for better wages and not worry about your parking costs. You deserve more.

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  • I work in a hospital in the East Midlands and not only have we had to all re-apply for our permits but are paying £22.00 per month or £33.00 per month, depending on where you are allocated to park, for the privledge of parking 3 miles away from the hospital and having to catch a bus to and from work before and after shift. £120 per year - BARGAIN!

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  • I work at the same East Midlands hospital as mentioned earlier that charges £22 per month for the privilige of re applying for your permit, and not getting it! I work 3 days per week, and still have to pay the full amount. I have appealed against the permit I was offered, but not yet heard anything. I think that having a 34 mile round trip to work, and then having to park miles away and then getting the hopper bus is a little bit much to take!Oh yes, almost forgot, I was also one of the many nurses to be downbanded! Happy Days! ( not! ).

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  • This story has run out of wheels. Since the NT launched its campaign in September a grand total of 246 nurses signed the e-petition to Gordon Brown demanding free parking at English hospitals. There is no such thing as a free and/or big enough car park. Money must be found to build and maintain them. Campaign instead for your Trust to invest in sustainable travel: car sharing schemes, tax-free bike purchase, secure cycle parking, changing facilities, discounted public transport and new bus routes. Many of these initiatives can be funded from (surplus) car parking revenue - charged according to salary. Tomorrow is the first day of May, get a bike, get a life. A bicycle is cheap, reliable, free to park and will save you the cost and necessity of gym fees. 5 miles can be covered in 30 minutes cycling, burning 200 calories. If you choose to live a considerable distance from work it is your choice. Neither the government nor your employer is required to provide you with transport or a place to store your private vehicle at your workplace. To learn more read The highway Code in the current edition of NMC News.

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  • Hi Vincent<br/><br/>Thanks for your comments. While Nursing Times believes that all staff, patients and relatives who can come by public transport, bicycle or by foot should do so, it is sometimes impractical to do so. For instance there is a growing trend for hospitals to be built outside towns where land is cheaper to buy. Also many nursing staff have to work unsocial hours and it may be unsafe for them to take public transport late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Much of the money raised by the parking schemes actually go towards paying private companies to run the schemes, not improving services.<br/>Who are the winners and the losers here? The winners are the private companies that win the tender for the parking contract - the losers are nurses, patients and relatives who have to pay parking fees and very often fines. <br/>Let's not use the green argument to justify an unfair regressive tax on nurses, patients and relatives.<br/><br/>Richard Staines

  • I work at Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, the parking charges there for staff suddenly went from £1.20 a day to £2.00 a day last year, I have a toddler in the hospital nursery so feel I have no choice but to pay the parking or else I would have to get my child up even earlier in the morning to catch the bus to be there for 7am. I would much prefer to pay an annual amount then have to fight with the car park machines at the hospital that regularly don't work or sometimes wont except money! To add insult to injury there is no parent and child parking in the car park so have to battle to get my toddler out of her car seat with the door only open a small amount!

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  • what about the patients.Car parks are so full of staff cars that service users have difficulty finding space to park. these are often older,or disabled people, people who need to attend clinics at certain times and find that they have to park miles away from the hospital as most hospitals now have resident only parking, due to previous all day parking by staff. Whilst I agree that some staff may have difficulting due to lack of public transport there are a lot of hours where transport is available. Check out carparks from 5pm

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