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Unison survey reveals ‘exorbitant’ and ‘stressful’ parking conditions for nurses

Staff say lack of adequate facilities wastes both their own and patients’ valuable time

Staff say lack of adequate facilities wastes both their own and patients’ valuable time


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Most nurses who pay for parking at their workplace are not even guaranteed a space, a survey has revealed.

Trade union Unison conducted the poll of 1,660 nurses, and 1,840 other NHS staff, including therapists, healthcare assistants, receptionists and secretaries.

Among the nurses who responded, 90% said they are not assured a parking space despite having to pay for a permit, which Unison says can cost more than £100 a month in some NHS trusts. 

Additionally, 70% of nurses said they have to spend time trying to find a parking space, 64% have had to look for alternative off-site parking, and 40% reported being fined for parking in the wrong place.

Negative experiences

Some of the nurses told Unison that a lack of adequate parking facilities meant they wasted both their own and patients’ valuable time.  

One nurse respondent said: ‘I was one hour late on a particular shift, despite getting to the hospital grounds 30 minutes before the start of my shift.’

Another nurse reported: ‘I have to park an hour and a half before my shift to make sure I get a space.’ 

Three in five nurses (60%) reported that the cost of parking had increased in the past two years.

Among all of the survey respondents, 63% reported having to pay for parking permits, but 92% were not guaranteed a space.

No alternative

Unison head of health Sara Gorton criticised the ‘exorbitant’ cost and difficulty of parking for NHS staff.

‘Driving is often the only way some health workers can get into work, particularly those on early starts or late finishes, or who live in rural areas where public transport is virtually non-existent,’ she said.

‘It’s unfair to charge staff for parking permits without guaranteeing them a space.

‘The lack of available parking can mean a stressful start to the day as staff drive around endlessly trying to find somewhere to leave their car.’

Financial burden 

Figures from NHS Digital released last week revealed that NHS workers were charged £69.5 million in parking fees and fines by NHS organisations in England in 2017-18.

A spokesperson for NHS Improvement said: ‘It is absolutely right that hospitals should make sure that sufficient parking spaces are available for their patients, staff and visitors. Charging a reasonable and proportionate fee is an effective means of doing that.’


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