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Nurses react angrily to decision to end free parking at hospitals

Hospital parking fees for NHS staff were waived during the pandemic but confirmation they are resuming infuriates nurses
A hospital car park pay meter with a sign detailing parking charges

Hospital parking fees for NHS staff were waived during the pandemic but confirmation they are resuming infuriates nurses

Nurses have reacted with anger to the government’s decision to end free parking at hospitals for NHS staff.

Parking fees were waived as part of measures to support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, but health and social care secretary Sajid Javid brought the measure to an end on 31 March.

The message from nurses on Nursing Standard’s Facebook page was clear – that the government should steer clear of introducing parking fees again.

One nurse

Hospital parking fees for NHS staff were waived during the pandemic but confirmation they are resuming infuriates nurses

A hospital car park pay meter with a sign detailing parking charges
Picture: Alamy

Nurses have reacted with anger to the government’s decision to end free parking at hospitals for NHS staff.

Parking fees were waived as part of measures to support staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, but health and social care secretary Sajid Javid brought the measure to an end on 31 March.

The message from nurses on Nursing Standard’s Facebook page was clear – that the government should steer clear of introducing parking fees again.

One nurse said it could leave them hundreds of pounds worse off per year: ‘If I don’t get an adequate pay rise this year they could at least waive the parking fee from this point on. That’s worth £360pa at my trust.’

Another nurse said: ‘I can see colleagues paying over £16 a day just to park at work, it’s ridiculous. It was ridiculous before the pandemic too.’

Unions say decision will see some workers leave the NHS at a time when it needs them most

Others labelled the decision ‘absolutely disgusting’ and said it would discourage people from becoming a nurse.

One person said: ‘Pay to be a nurse. Pay to park. Pay to visit patients in community as the mileage rate doesn’t cover fuel, let alone wear and tear on our cars. How do they think they are going to keep staff let alone attract newbies?’

Another wrote: ‘Essential workers should not have to pay to care for all of us.’

The Department of Health and Social Care said the perk was only intended to be temporary and was introduced in 2020 for the duration of the pandemic. It said the scheme had cost around £130 million over the past two years.

Mr Javid confirmed the change in a written update on the pandemic. He also said nine out of ten NHS trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including staff working night shifts, blue badge holders and patients who must regularly attend appointments for long-term conditions.

The move was criticised by unions, who said it would see some workers leave the NHS at a time when the health service needs them most.


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