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Trust agrees to rethink planned hike in staff parking fees

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A hospital trust in Devon has agreed to shelve a planned rise in parking fees for staff until at least this time next year, after its initial proposals drew a critical response.

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford Hospital, had proposed increasing staff parking charges from £2.50 per day to £3 starting in April, with another hike to £3.50 on the cards next year.

“I hope that this small gesture will help support staff at a time of both financial and operational pressures”

Ann James

But, following criticism from staff and local union representatives, it has now delayed the implementation of increased car parking charges until at least April next year, after which it has agreed to cap any rise in charges at 10p a day.

In a letter to staff, trust chief executive Ann James said the trust had “listened” to its employees following a consultation about the potential changes to car parking tariffs for 2016-17.

She said: “After reviewing all the feedback from nearly 200 staff, I am very pleased that it has been decided not to make any changes to the staff tariff until at least 1st April 2017.”

Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

Trust agrees to rethink hike in staff parking fees

Ann James

“I hope that this small gesture will help support staff at a time of both financial and operational pressures,” she said.

Ms James added that the trust had “taken on board” comments that the running costs of its car parks were high, mainly due to the renting of its multi-storey facility, and that it would be “looking to reduce these costs over the coming months”.

“We will be carrying out another review of income and costs in December 2016 and if there is still a gap then charges may need to be increase from April 2017,” she said.

The Royal College of Nursing, which has been campaigning locally on the issue with other unions including the GMB, welcomed the development.

Lead RCN representative Vicky Brotherton said: “We are delighted with this excellent result.”

Royal College of Nursing

Trust agrees to rethink hike in staff parking fees

Vicky Brotherton

In addition to the freeze on staff parking charges, the trust said it was also planning to improve its payment options and supporting alternatives.

Ideas include extending weekend permits to include Fridays, introducing direct debit payment option for those unable to access a salary payment scheme, introducing a part-time salary deduction or sacrifice rate, and developing a car sharing portal for staff.

The trust added that it was looking at whether it was still appropriate to maintain its current discounted parking rate for lower band employees, and was planning to consult on the issue.

“In the feedback you have shared with us, there has been some concern over whether it is appropriate to continue offering the discounted parking rate to band 1 and band 2 staff,” said Ms James.

“Changing this will obviously be a difficult decision, and will require much more time to work through the implications,” she noted.

 

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It is cruel the amount of money that hospitals now make from charges to patients for parking. However staff, and nursing staff in particular, often have no option than to drive due to the hours they work, I certainly would not want to wait for buses outside a hospital A&E in the dark, and many staff would not want to ride on buses or trains late at night, given the low levels of protection from unruly or drunk passengers. Many staff would be unable to plan to catch a certain bus or train because they are never certain what time they will actually get off duty. Our hospital easily got around the issue of staff protesting about car park rises - they withdrew all passes and made everyone re apply for one. Everyone was given points for where they lived, if they worked unsocial hours etc.. We were then 'awarded' our passes as if they were gold dust (which was the point of the exercise). Now of course they are free to raise the charge whenever they feel like it and just tell us "if you are not happy to pay the increased charge please return your pass and someone on the waiting list can have it." There are three different levels according to grade, but senior management (who strangely all got passes 'because they have to travel to and from the hospital for meetings' pay the same as a sister. It does not matter if you are full or part time, so now as a semi retired band 6 I will be paying £5.0 per day from April 1st !!

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