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Nottingham hospital trust accused of ‘cash grab’ from NHS workers over parking ordeal

todayJune 14, 2022 1

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A union representing NHS staff at Nottingham’s hospitals has said current parking arrangements are nothing but a “cash-grab” on workers. A nurse of 30 years recently spoke to Nottinghamshire Live revealing she was stressed and ready to leave her job due to the problem.

Parking fees were waived across the country at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic but Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced this would come to an end from Friday, April 1. Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH), the trust running Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, said it would not be reinforcing the charge until “early summer”.

However, problems remain in workers not being able to use the limited staff car park without obtaining a permit, while patient and visitor car parks are strictly off-limits for staff and must be kept for its designated use only. Permits are very limited in number and come with a long waiting period, and those who do not have a permit have simply been told to get to work by other means.

Read more: Nottingham man to face murder trial after incident in city centre

One of the remaining options is the Medilink bus service, but staff have complained about the infrequency and busyness of these services. Some have been forced to wait in long queues in the pouring rain after shifts lasting more than 12 hours.

UNISON, which represents more than 3,000 workers at the trust, has now condemned the situation. Jamie Godber, UNISON Nottingham University Hospitals and Allied Services branch secretary, said: “It’s just not acceptable to us to see healthcare workers who have put themselves on the line repeatedly throughout the pandemic being exposed to these returning costs. Car parking for NHS staff should be free and it has been for over 18 months. To bring back car parking charges now just feels like a cash grab on workers, who often need to get to work during unsociable hours.”

And Dave Ratchford, UNISON’s East Midlands regional organiser, added: “Hospital workers are very unhappy that they are effectively being taxed extra to go to work and save lives. Many staff at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust are reporting that they are having to use foodbanks just to get by as the cost-of-living crisis continues to escalate.

“Meanwhile, staff in neighbouring NHS trusts in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire do not have to pay to park at work. It’s now time for senior hospital bosses to do the right thing and scrap parking charges for hospital staff in Nottingham.”

NUH says the Medilink bus service was expanded from the week beginning June 6, including extra buses between Wilkinson Street and QMC between 6.30am and 07.05am, new early morning journeys introduced between City Hospital and QMC from 4.50am, new early morning journeys introduced between Queens Drive Park and Ride, QMC and City Hospital from 5am and new evening journeys with final buses from both QMC and City Hospital departing at 9pm.

A spokesman from Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust said: “With the increased number of patients using our services, and in line with the Government ending free parking for NHS staff, we have recently reinstated our pre-Covid on-site parking restrictions. We have expanded our offer to make it easier for staff to travel to and from work, including more Medilink services that started this week, and we continue to work with our partners in the Council and CT4N to monitor and improve its reliability.”

The Trust added if NUH staff currently hold a parking permit, even if this is expired, staff will be able to park in one of the on-site car parks, subject to availability and says it has issued as many permits as possible to effectively use the spaces.

If staff do not hold a permit the trust says they will need to find an alternative way to get on to the site via a full range of travel to work options available at Travel to Work, and if staff have extenuating circumstances that mean they need a permit they will need to contact their director with the reasons and if approved this will be sent to a panel for review.

And if staff work nights they will be able to park in any of the on-site car staff parks (City and QMC) from 4pm, (the barriers will be re-implemented for entry at 7.15am) even if they do not have a parking permit.

Written by: thehitnetwork

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