Nottingham Hospitals Staff Receive ‘Huge Slap’ As Parking Fees Return
Many Nottingham hospital workers will have to pay to park again at work after an increase in ‘unsafe’ parking prevented emergency vehicles from accessing the roads.
Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, which runs Queen’s Medical Center and City Hospital, lowered its parking barriers this week (May 3).
The trust says the reintroduction of the parking enforcement and lowering of parking barriers on public parking lots will make its sites “safer and more accessible.”
NUH says staff parking lots are available for licensed employees, however union leaders say many of their members have to travel by car and cannot get permits. This leaves a lot to pay for public parking fees.
At NUH, these charges are Â£ 8 for 24 hours of parking or Â£ 6.50 for up to eight hours.
It comes after the most trying year for healthcare services as coronavirus patients filled wards and intensive care units over the winter.
Unison’s regional officer for Nottinghamshire, Dave Ratchford, told Nottinghamshire Live the move was a “huge slap in the face” and a “regressive step” for the members he helps represent in the union.
âAfter the year that NHS workers just got this, it seems completely wrong,â he said.
“We were not consulted on this matter, we were informed.
âOther trusts around the country, such as Lincolnshire, have abolished parking fees.
âThe situation was made impossible by trust. Staff shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of parking to go to work.
“At a time when there is more or less a nationwide suspension of parking fees for NHS staff, our members in Nottingham are angry at being subject to these parking fees. We are currently consulting them on our response.”
Andrew Chatten, NUH Estate and Facilities Manager, told Nottinghamshire Live: âWe encourage all our staff to use alternative means of transport such as the medilink park and ride service which is free for NUH employees.
“In an ideal world there would be enough space for all of our staff to park on site, however the reality is that there aren’t enough spaces for staff to park and that has caused safety problems on the roads of our hospitals. “
With the outbreak of the coronavirus last March, the NUH announced that parking would be free for staff at its two hospitals to ensure they can get to work and have a spot.
Parking fees were reintroduced in January for patients and visitors, which were minimal at the time due to visitation restrictions, and staff were given temporary permits to park.
Residents living near the municipal hospital site said the reintroduction of staff rates was “unfair” and “should be removed”.
Jane Medley, 55, of Sherwood, said: “It should be free for all staff. If there is a limit on numbers, then fine, it’s first come, first served.
âAfter the most difficult year in the NHS it seems very unfair to me that they have to pay to get to work. It should be free for them.
âI don’t mind visitors having to pay, but staff shouldn’t have to. “
Tony Billington, 55, of Sherwood, added: “It’s a kick in the teeth for them. Â£ 8 a day makes me salivate. It doesn’t suit me after they’ve been on the front line to try to save our lives and protect us. “
The breakdown of parking rates at NUH sites is as follows: free up to 30 minutes, Â£ 2 for one hour, Â£ 4 for two hours, Â£ 5.50 for four hours, Â£ 6.50 for eight hours, 8 Â£ for 24 hours and Â£ 20 per week.