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Nurses on night shifts to get free parking from next year

Hospital car parking charges will be waived for nurses and other NHS staff on night shifts and some patients and parents of sick children

Hospital car parking charges will be waived for nurses and other NHS staff on night shifts and some patients and parents of sick children

A sign displaying parking charges at Buckland Hospital in Dover, Kent. Hospital car parking charges will be waived for nurses and other NHS staff on night shifts and some patients and parents of sick children.
A sign displaying parking charges at Buckland Hospital in Dover, Kent
Picture: PA Wire

Nurses and other NHS staff working night shifts will be able to use hospital car parks free of charge in plans being rolled out across England from next April, the Department of Health and Social Care has said.

Blue badge holders and patients who must regularly attend appointments for long-term conditions will also get free hospital parking under plans outlined by the department that fulfil an election pledge by the Conservative Party.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘One of the concerns mentioned regularly on the doorsteps was that vulnerable people, and staff working nights, have to pay for hospital car parking.’

All hospital trusts in England will also be expected to allow free parking at specific times to parents of sick children staying overnight.

Trusts manage their own car parking arrangements and use the profits towards front-line care.

One in three trusts raised parking charges last year

The health department is not setting aside funding to reimburse trusts that may see their finances affected under the requirement for hospitals to provide free parking for certain groups. But a department spokesperson said they will be supported to ensure the policy does not affect care.

One in three NHS hospital trusts in England – 47 out of 144 – increased the cost of parking last year, according to a study by the Press Association news agency published earlier in December. It also found NHS staff in England paid over £65 million in car parking fees in 2018-19, up £5 million from the previous year.

Mr Hancock said: ‘Currently, the situation varies from hospital to hospital. Instead, from April, across the country those with the greatest need, such as disabled people, parents staying overnight with sick children in hospital and NHS staff working night shifts will no longer have to pay for parking.’

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘Labour MPs have longed campaigned for hospital car parking charges to be ditched. But yet again patients will have to examine the small print as many will still have to pay over the odds just because they are ill.’

Hospital car parking is free in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.


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