Free parking was a “time-limited measure” and “it is right to end this now”.
The Government has rejected a call to make car parking permanently free for all NHS workers.
In response to an online petition by The Doctors Association, Every Doctor, NursingNotes, Project S, Socialist NHS, and Keep our NHS Public, the Government has said free parking was a “time-limited measure” and “it is right to end this now”.
NHS England previously pledged to ensure car parking would remain free for the duration of the pandemic.
The charge is being reintroduced against a backdrop of a real-terms pay cut for NHS workers as wages fail to keep up with the rate of inflation and a spiralling cost of living.
In the year before the pandemic, NHS patients, visitors and staff paid an eye-watering £272,000,000 for car parking.
A time-limited measure.
Responding to the petition, a Government spokesperson said, “Free hospital parking for NHS staff was a time-limited measure during the pandemic. It is right to end this now as we learn to live with the virus. Free parking for staff working overnight remains.”
“Free parking will remain in place for NHS staff who work overnight, given that public transport is not always readily available.”
They go on to explain that free car parking for NHS workers would make things harder for patients.
“Availability for parking spaces is on a ‘first come-first serve basis’ with patients, staff and visitors competing for the same available parking spaces, and car parking charges play a role in managing capacity as there are a limited number of car parking spaces available for patients and staff.’
A tax on caring.
NHS staff car parking charges have been dubbed a “tax on caring” by the supporters of the petition.
Matt Bodell, a frontline NHS nurse and editor at NursingNotes added; “Car Parking charges are nothing more than a tax on caring. With over 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in England alone, year on year real-terms pay cuts combined with stealth taxes such as this only drive hard-working nurses and doctors out of the profession.
“Remember the clapping? We are now calling upon the Government to make car parking permanent free of charge for all NHS workers to help mitigate some of the rising cost of living increases”.
Dr Jenny Vaughan, DAUK Chair, adds, “Are these charges the best way to value NHS staff who have not had a decent pay rise in years? Is this how the NHS is ‘protected’? Paying for parking is yet another insult to staff, especially when they have no choice but to drive.”
You can help by signing the petition.