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Trust backtracks on staff free parking exclusion

COVID-19 arrangements at Belfast trust initially excluded agency staff, students and locums
Hospital parking charges during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 parking arrangements at Belfast trust initially excluded agency staff, students and locums

A trust in Northern Ireland has confirmed it will provide free parking for all staff, backtracking on an earlier statement that said students, agency staff and locums would be excluded.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust came under fire after earlier informing staff that free parking was only available for permanent health and social care staff.

Agency workers, locums and students have a vital operational role

The trust clarified its position after the Department of Health in Northern Ireland announced that parking would be free for all healthcare staff until March 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic second wave.

The initial exclusion at the

COVID-19 parking arrangements at Belfast trust initially excluded agency staff, students and locums

Sign that reads 'hospital parking', with an arrow below
Picture: iStock

A trust in Northern Ireland has confirmed it will provide free parking for all staff, backtracking on an earlier statement that said students, agency staff and locums would be excluded.

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust came under fire after earlier informing staff that free parking was only available for permanent health and social care staff.

‘Agency workers, locums and students have a vital operational role’

The trust clarified its position after the Department of Health in Northern Ireland announced that parking would be free for all healthcare staff until March 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic second wave.

The initial exclusion at the Belfast trust was highlighted by a Nursing Standard reader, who responded to an article by tweeting a copy of a statement sent to the trust’s staff. The statement said: ‘The health minister’s provision of free parking only applies to health and social care staff and is not available to agency or locum staff or students.’

However, Northern Ireland’s Department of Health told Nursing Standard: ‘The intention is that free parking does extend to agency workers, locums and students, who will be playing a vital operational role in the fight against Covid-19.

‘Where necessary – and to balance the needs of patients, visitors and staff – in addition to free on-site parking, extra off-site parking provision and free park and ride facilities are to be made available as soon as possible.’

Trust is looking for off-site parking and arranging park and ride service

When asked about the tweet, the Belfast trust told Nursing Standard that demand for parking had always exceeded available spaces.

However, a spokesperson added: ‘Following consultation with the Department of Health on parking for locum and agency staff and students working at our trust, we are currently working to source suitable off-site parking so we can arrange free park and ride facilities for staff as soon as possible. Once this is put in place, we will communicate the details to all staff.’

The trust said a time frame has not yet been put in place for this.

All other trusts in Northern Ireland say parking is free for all staff, including agency staff, students and locums, until March 2021.


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