Free NHS staff parking: Hospital chiefs have heard 'nothing' from government about claims it might end

The NHS trust which runs three local hospitals says it's had no direct contact or guidance from the government about a possible end to free parking for staff.

Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th July 2020, 1:15 pm

Reports in the national media suggested this week that free parking for staff at hospitals in England might be set to end, having been brought in by the government on March 25.

Former Tory Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan claimed on Wednesday that no such decision had been made, while the British Medical Association said that removing the perk would be a "rebuff to the immense efforts" of NHS staff.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals, as well as Pinderfields in Wakefield, said on Thursday morning they'd had no correspondence from the Department of Health about the issue.

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Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

They said parking for all staff and visitors across their three sites remained free of charge.

Tom Gordon, a Lib Dem councillor in Wakefield, called on the government to axe "extortionate" staff parking charges permanently, and for workers to receive a pay rise.

Coun Gordon, who represents Knottingley, said: "Our NHS staff and social care workers in Wakefield and across the Five Towns have been putting themselves on the front line every single day to protect us.

"It is absolutely right that they shouldn't be punished for parking at work, especially when it isn't as safe as usual for them to be using public transport.

A banner was left draped over the front of Pinderfields' staff car park at the height of the pandemic.

"Even if this Covid-19 crisis was close to being over, scrapping free parking for NHS staff shows that the government have learned nothing. We have been clapping for carers over the past few months - but we must match that with real action to improve things for NHS and care workers."

Asked about the issue, at a trust board meeting on Thursday, Mid Yorkshire's director of facilities Mark Bradden, said: "Visitors and non-permit holders can use any of the car parks across Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury.

"The actual charges have been suspended in line with government guidance.

"I know there's been information in the media over the last couple of days about this, but we've not heard anything formal yet.

Local councillor Tom Gordon called for "extortionate" staff charges to be scrapped for good.

"We will review it when information comes to light."

Pinderfields Hospital has been hampered by a shortage of designated staff parking for a number of years.

At the beginning of last year, trade union UNISON criticised the trust after it was revealed some workers were being penalised for using visitor spaces when the staff section was full.

In March 2019, the trust said it was trying to secure cash to create extra spaces, for which it had been given planning permission the previous year.

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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