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Free hospital parking for carers would help nurses, says MP

Burnley MP Julie Cooper is using a private members' bill in parliament to call for free parking at NHS hospitals for carers. 

Carers would visit NHS premises more often if they were exempt from car parking charges  – and this would ease nurses’ workloads, the House of Commons has heard.

Labour MP for Burnley Julie Cooper made the comments on Friday during the second reading of her private members’ bill on hospital parking charges. The bill would result in free parking at NHS hospitals for carers if it became law.

Ms Cooper said nurses did not have time to manage the ‘feeding, dressing and calming’ of patients alongside their other tasks.

She added: ‘Nurses already have enough to do attending to the medical needs of all the patients on the ward. I have met many carers of stroke patients who go to the hospital each day and sit patiently feeding their loved one, leaving nurses free to perform their duties as qualified medical practitioners.’

She highlighted Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust’s free parking scheme and said: ‘Nurses report that the scheme means they have more free time, as carers are able to spend longer visiting their loved ones.’

Conservative MP for Shipley Philip Davies supports free parking in principle, but said that introducing this law would take £180 million a year from NHS finances.

The second reading will resume on March 11.

The Sunday Mirror has also started a campaign for free parking for nurses at NHS hospitals. Some nurses are charged £114 a month to park at their workplace, the newspaper said.

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