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27.04.17

Unison: NHS staff charged ‘extortionate’ rates to park at hospitals

Hospitals are charging staff, including nurses struggling with low wages, huge rates of nearly £100 a month to park, an FoI sent by Unison has revealed.

The union asked 199 trusts in England, Scotland and Wales how much staff were charged for using their car parking facilities, and found some of the highest chargers included the Royal Free London NHS FT, who made staff pay £85.38 a month to use a space.

This hospital, and nine others, were found to operate a ‘flat rate’ where low-earning staff had to pay the same amount to park as high-earning staff.

On top of this, the findings revealed a postcode lottery in the charges, Unison said, as the cost of parking hugely varied between trusts around the country.

In other trusts, health workers were found to be slapped with fines of up to £100 – more than a day’s wage – by private contractors running car parks.

While some trusts offer discounts for staff, like nurses, who earn less money, the union also found that many hospitals did not guarantee staff a parking space, meaning many wasted time driving round trying to find a somewhere to leave their car.

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: “Health staff are struggling to get by on a pay rise well below the cost of living, and these extortionate fees are an extra tax on their wages.

“Many NHS staff work shifts so they have to drive because they can’t get buses or trains in the middle of the night,” she added. “Health workers in rural areas, where public transport is virtually non-existent, are entirely dependent on their cars to get to work.

“Others have to fork out for expensive permits with no guarantee of a space when they get to work.

“The government should be guaranteeing fair parking charges for all health employees, and the NHS should stop making money off the back of its dedicated workforce.”

NHE contacted NHS England for comment, but at the time of publication had not received a reply.

 

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