Parking fees were waived for the “duration” of the pandemic.
The Health Secretary has ordered NHS Trusts in England to withdraw free car parking provisions for NHS workers from Friday.
Parking fees were waived in 2020 for the “duration” of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Health Secretary has told NHS Trusts in England this must now come to an end.
NHS organisations have now been ordered to start charging the majority of staff again from Friday 1 April 2022.
Health service workers often pay exorbitant fees of between £20 and £65 per month for the privilege of parking.
Following a Conservative Party pre-election pledge, free parking should continue for “disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders and staff working night shifts”.
Announcing the change, Sajid Javid said, “Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also come to an end on March 31.
“However, over 93% of NHS trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including NHS staff working overnight.”
He added: “On behalf of the Government, I would like to record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to keep people safe over the last two years and whose efforts have enabled us to move to the next stage of the Covid-19 response.”
Responding to the news, Rachel Harrison, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Charging the NHS staff who’ve risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work is a sick joke.
Nurses United UK have branded the move “tone-deaf” and suggested the move is yet another real-terms pay cut for workers. Anthony Johnson, the lead organiser for the organisation, said, “This Government continues with their tone-deaf and dangerous policies.
“Inflation is sky rocketing, which means that NHS workers have lost over 30% of their wages in real terms since 2010. Now is not the time to inflict another pay cut by forcing NHS workers to pay for parking.
“All it will do is continue to drive them away by showing that this Government still doesn’t care for our carers. Nurses across England should organise against this threat to our patient’s safety.”