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Northern Ireland announces free hospital parking for healthcare staff until March 2021

Department of Health reintroduces free parking in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Department of Health reintroduces free hospital parking for healthcare staff in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Healthcare workers in Northern Ireland will be able to park for free at all its hospitals until March 2021, the Department of Health has announced.

Health minister Robin Swann has asked trusts to provide free car parking ‘with immediate effect’ for all health and social care staff until 31 March next year in response to COVID-19.

Robin Swann

Free parking mirrors suspension of charges for healthcare staff in England

He said: ‘As our valued staff enter a most challenging and pressurised time, I hope that

Department of Health reintroduces free hospital parking for healthcare staff in response to COVID-19 pandemic

All healthcare staff will get free parking in Northern Ireland hospitals, such as Dundonald’s Ulster Hospital in County Down
All healthcare staff will get free parking in Northern Ireland hospitals, such as Dundonald’s Ulster Hospital in County Down. Picture: Alamy

Healthcare workers in Northern Ireland will be able to park for free at all its hospitals until March 2021, the Department of Health has announced.

Health minister Robin Swann has asked trusts to provide free car parking ‘with immediate effect’ for all health and social care staff until 31 March next year in response to COVID-19.

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann
Robin Swann

Free parking mirrors suspension of charges for healthcare staff in England

He said: ‘As our valued staff enter a most challenging and pressurised time, I hope that this provides some welcome news.’

Free parking was first put in place in the country from 1 April to 30 June.

The move mirrors the suspension of parking charges for healthcare workers in England. In Scotland staff do not pay to park at any of the country’s hospitals, and in Wales hospital parking has been free for more than two years.

NHS England’s NHS People Plan states: ‘NHS organisations should continue to give their people free car parking at their place of work for the duration of the pandemic.’

Charges may be reintroduced at higher levels in England post-COVID

But once the pandemic abates there are signs that parking charges may be reintroduced at hospitals in England at a much higher level.

King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust provides free parking for staff, but is looking to increase prices for its parking permits in future.

The cost of its gold permit – which covers all its car parks – will go up from £75 per month to £120, while the purple permit, for parking on its Denmark Hill site, London, will increase from £50 to £80. The blue permit, which ranges from £25 to £50 depending on salary band – and covers the Princess Royal University Hospital and Orpington sites – will go up to £60; and the green off-peak permit for all car parks will double, from £10 to £20 a month.

A spokesperson for the trust said: ‘To help us maintain our car parks and provide security staff to patrol these areas, the costs of staff parking permits will increase in the future.

‘We have benchmarked against other NHS organisations regarding these changes, and they are broadly in line with other trusts.’

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