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NHS trust's move to raise parking charges angers nurses

The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon has increased daytime parking charges for all staff from £1 per day to £1.50 and is also charging staff to park overnight and at weekends

 

Nurses have reacted angrily to an NHS trust’s increase in parking charges for all its staff from today (August 3).

The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in Swindon has begun charging all staff £1.50 per day to park. This is 50 pence per day more than previously.

The £1.50 charge will also now apply overnight, at weekends and on bank holidays, whereas previously the £1 charge only applied during the week between 7am and 7pm.

The trust says it has been discussing the move with staff representatives for some time in a bid to progress its plans to expand the staff car park.

A spokesperson said: ‘Given our financial position, without increasing parking charges the expansion could not go ahead as we don’t want to use funds for patient services.

‘Working with staff representatives, a suggestion was made by staff to increase parking charges for staff to fund an expansion and allow staff to park more often.’

He added that the move will ensure more spaces are provided in other car parks for patients and visitors.

He said that the trust has avoided raising charges for staff for ‘several years’ but that improvements to the car park are necessary, adding: ‘We are doing all we can to improve all parking at the hospital, within the constraints of our financial position.’

However, an RCN South West spokesperson said the move has been ‘imposed’ on staff.

She said the college understands that the trust has to save money, but government policy on pay means that nurses are having to deal with higher costs of living with no extra pay.

‘For nurses it is just another kick in the teeth. On the one hand they are being told by government that they can’t be afforded a pay rise, but on the other hand they are being told costs are going to increase.’

She added that the parking increases are unfair because lower paid staff are much harder hit.

‘The increase is not much for a consultant who works part-time but it will be for a healthcare assistant who is on band 3 of Agenda for Change and who is coming in day in, day out. Such a hike in charges mounts up when a member of staff is on a tight budget.’

She said the college is raising its concerns about the increase in charges to the trust on behalf of the members.

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