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Nurses should not have to pay to park their car at work

Thisweek NT launches its latest campaign – to end car parking charges for all nurses working in the NHS in every part of the UK.

The campaign is called Free Parking and over the next three months will be pushing for a ‘clamp down on unfair charges’.

Moves by ministers in Wales and Scotland to phase out parking charges in their countries are welcome but have created a postcode lottery, with nurses and other healthcare staff in England and Northern Ireland left to pay to park.

An NT survey shows that nurses are almost unanimous in their opposition to car park charges. Charging does not occur in the independent sector or in other parts of the public sector, such as the police force or teaching, so why the NHS?

The Department of Health has, as with so many unpopular financial issues, stated that it is down to individual trusts to decide car parking policy. Trusts, when confronted on the issue, have repeatedly argued that they either need the revenue or that it acts as a deterrent to commuters using parking spaces. These arguments start to sound hollow if this is not considered a problem in Scotland and Wales.

At a time when the credit crunch is hitting the profession hard and the last few years have seen tough bargaining over nurse pay, nurses would welcome the ditching of a further strain on their income – a reward perhaps for hitting the government’s MRSA target.

Nurses should not have to put up with a financial burden that is for many unavoidable. It is also a question of safety. Nine out of ten respondents said it was not practical for them to use public transport to travel to or return from work, and six out of ten that they did not feel safe using public transport.

As with several other healthcare issues, such as free prescriptions, the devolved governments have led the way.

Ministers and NHS trusts in England and Northern Ireland should do the right thing and put an end to the lottery of unfair charges.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I do not beleive I should pay to come to work. At present I can park at my place of work free. However, my trust will soon be changing this arrangement and will require staff to park in the surrounding area. I work near a busy town centre where car parking fees are high and this will have a real affect on my take home pay. I support the NT campaign to abolish all parking charges for nurses.

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  • i will shortly be having to pay 21% of my salary in order to go to work ( my incomings will exceed my outgoings) i love being a nurse and doing the job that i trained to do but i am seriously thinking about retraining as like most of my colleagues i feel devalued. we have made various agencies aware of our campaign however people have now been informed that there job could be at risk if this continues !!!!

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  • A local trust is suggesting we park in neighbouring streets. I live near a hospital and already see the outcome of this - lots of unhappy people who wish they didn't live near a hospital. There needs to be consideration of both the needs of staff and of people living nearby.

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  • I feel that a recent proposal to move all staff parking off site, supported with a park and ride service for staff has not been thought through by Hospital Management, as staff may require access to their vehicle during the day (to respond to personal emergency issues, if sent home sick or responding to "On-call" requirements). A park and ride system can never work in the current climate where staff do not always leave the shift on time when covering for staff shortages. Enforcing a park and ride system would mean that many staff members would have no choice but to leave on time. If you have to work later, what guarentees are put into place to ensure staff get to their vehicle safely.

    Would it be unacceptable to provide a park and ride facility for patients and their visitors. providing a service revolving around set visiting times and routine day admission times would be far more practical from a logistical perspective.

    Parking in streets adjacent to any hospital complex is not safe and is not fair to the local residents and is not the answer to the problem.

    From personal observations, parking fines are not enforced consistantly and staff should not be in fear of receiving a fine every time they come to work. The government should support its NHS workers in resolving this unfair charge against its committed workforce. Lets petition the government and see action

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