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Government plans to scrap free parking pass for nurses as COVID-19 restrictions lift

Free hospital parking for staff remains, but funding for council pass will be axed
Car park

Free hospital parking for staff remains, but funding for council pass will be axed

Nursing leaders have criticised a decision to axe free parking for nurses in council car parks and on-street spaces across England when the final lockdown restrictions are lifted, provisionally set for June.

Government will withdraw funding for emergency parking passes

Health and social care staff and volunteers have been allowed to park for free in hospital car parks, council-owned car parks and on-street bays while on duty since March 2020 as part of

Free hospital parking for staff remains, but funding for council pass will be axed

Picture: iStock

Nursing leaders have criticised a decision to axe free parking for nurses in council car parks and on-street spaces across England when the final lockdown restrictions are lifted, provisionally set for June.

Government will withdraw funding for emergency parking passes

Health and social care staff and volunteers have been allowed to park for free in hospital car parks, council-owned car parks and on-street bays while on duty since March 2020 as part of emergency measures to support staff during the pandemic.

But while funding for free parking in hospital car parks will remain for the duration of the pandemic, latest guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government states that following the publication of the government’s roadmap for lifting COVID-19 restrictions, a decision has been taken to withdraw the emergency parking passes for local authority spaces by 21 June.

Queen’s Nursing Institute chief executive Crystal Oldman called for the passes to be kept in place to help community nurses coping with increased caseloads.

‘They are as busy now as they were during the height of the pandemic, supporting their communities – families, individuals and carers – to manage long-term conditions, avoid hospital admission and providing supported, dignified end of life care at home,’ she said.

Extending parking pass would show nurses they are valued

‘This is a missed opportunity to recognise the value of the nurses in the community whose work is predicated on travelling from one home to another by car – to deliver their expert care in people’s homes.’

Dr Oldman has previously warned that many district nursing teams are at ‘breaking point’, citing the example of one London provider organisation which was delivering over 80% above its contracted workload.

Acting RCN England director Patricia Marquis said the government needed to show that its appreciation for nursing staff was ‘more than kind words’.

‘Nursing staff deserve more than being treated like this especially after their phenomenal effort through the pandemic,’ she said.

Free parking for staff in hospital car parks set to remain

Confirming the continuation of free hospital car parking, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘NHS staff have performed an incredible role at every stage of this pandemic and we are clear – they should not be charged for parking when they are at work’.

Councils could continue to offer free parking if they wished, the spokesperson added.

I have a COVID-19 emergency parking pass: what should I do?

According to guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, local councils are responsible for setting their own policy on parking. If you are a passholder, you should contact your local council to find out plans for the parking pass, or to check if you are eligible other local parking permits.



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