COVID-19: Scotland drops car park charges for health service staff
Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman says ‘we cannot have barriers for working in the NHS’
The Scottish Government will abolish all car parking fees for NHS staff tackling the COVID-19 outbreak.
Parking fees were scrapped in 2008 in Scotland except for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, where staff are still charged by private firms.
But staff working at these NHS boards will no longer have to pay for parking from Monday 30 March for the next three months.
Will England follow suit and remove car parking charges?
Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman, who made the announcement to the Scottish parliament on 24 March, said: ‘We cannot have barriers to staff working in the NHS.’
In England, the government says it is looking at ways to make car parking free for NHS staff.
When asked by the BBC on Monday 24 March if parking will be made free for NHS staff, health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘We are looking at that actually. If we can find a way to do it, I’d love to.’
Two NHS trusts in England already offering free parking
Two trusts in England have already made the move to remove car parking fees for staff as the COVID-19 battle continues.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust announced it will be suspending charges for its car parks and canteens. This will be reviewed at the end of June.
The trust’s chief executive Sir James Mackey said: ‘We fully recognise that this brings additional stress and pressures for many staff with concerns over childcare, finances and the health and well-being of loved ones. We will do all we can to help with these.'
Barts Health NHS Trust also announced that, from 1 April to 1 July, staff with a parking permit will not be charged.
National Car Parks (NCP) has also announced parking will be free for NHS staff who pre-book online at its 150 car parks across the UK. This will be reviewed at the end of April.
Unison has called for shopping centres, pubs and other businesses to follow NCP’s example and provide free parking to NHS and care staff.
Outrage at Northern Ireland parking ticket
Meanwhile, RCN Northern Ireland director Pat Cullen expressed her outrage after a nurse was given a £40 parking ticket coming off a 12-hour night duty shift.
Not what our nurses should be receiving in our hospital grounds after a 12 hour night duty shift in a COVID19 ward caring for the sickest of people. Please cut them a bit of ‘slack’ wasn’t obstructing anyone, parked responsibly. I’m gutted for them. pic.twitter.com/klD7yuAIlK— pat cullen (@patcullen9) March 23, 2020
The Northern Ireland government was contacted for comment.
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