From today (April 1st) free parking for NHS hospital staff across several sites in England will be scrapped.
Trusts across the country waived parking charges for NHS staff at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
The move to revoke free parking for staff comes as the Conservative party look to stick to their 2019 manifesto of offering free parking to those in greatest need such as disabled patients, frequent outpatients and those visiting critically ill loved ones.
Over the two years it is thought that the free parking scheme cost around £130m and was only ever meant to be a “temporary measure” according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The policy came into action after a petition which got over 400,000 called for free parking for NHS workers as they worked tirelessly to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.
Figures published by NHS Digital revealed that health workers paid £90.1m in parking fees between 2019 and 2020 with the Midlands coming out highest paying region at £18m paid over that same year.
Following the announcement that free parking for NHS employees in England is to end this week. Do you agree with the steps being taken?— National Health Executive (@nhenews) March 30, 2022
The GMB union also submitted a freedom of information act which disclosed that prior to the pandemic, staff were paying around £1,300 a year to park at work.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer said: “Health workers are on their knees following a two-year pandemic – they need help and support, not being repeatedly kicked when they are down by the Government.
“GMB calls on the Government to restore this funding and on employers to do the right thing and scrap the reintroduction of local parking charges.”
In Scotland, the majority of parking fees at hospitals were abolished in 2008, with the final three hospitals removing their charges in August 2021.
Wales also does not charge for hospital parking, having made all car parks free for use in 2018.
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