NHS heroes at Northampton General Hospital can keep their free parking

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Health service union welcomes decision not to follow other Trusts by bring back charges

Health unions have given a warm welcome to Northampton General Hospital's decision not to make staff pay for parking again.

Parking fees were scrapped for all NHS workers during the Covid-19 crisis yet government ministers last month warned the measure "could not continue indefintely."

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Bosses at Northampton promised to review the situation at the end of July and have have now pledged: "In line with government guidance, staff car parking will remain free for staff during the pandemic."

Regional organiser of the biggest health service union Unison, Elliot Dean, said: “Nurses, cleaners and other health workers across Northamptonshire shouldn’t be punished for simply parking at work so they can save lives and care for patients.

"The virus problems are far from going away but, when this is over, the Government should fund trusts properly, so they can provide high quality health services and scrap staff parking charges for good."

"NHS staff pay thousands of pounds each year to park at work so this is a welcomed reprieve and is in the best interest of public safety across the region.

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"However it is now time for all NHS employers to commit to scraping these charges for staff forever. Millions of people applauded NHS employees across Northamptonshire but the car park machines at hospitals wont take claps both now and in the future.”

Parking will remain free for NHS staff at Northampton General Hospital. Photo: Getty ImagesParking will remain free for NHS staff at Northampton General Hospital. Photo: Getty Images
Parking will remain free for NHS staff at Northampton General Hospital. Photo: Getty Images

Doctors, nurses and support staff at the Cliftonville site usually pay around £18 a month to park even though many work shifts which makes using public transport impossible and live too far away to cycle.

Around the height of the Covid-19 crisis in March, the Department of Health and Social Care offered extra funding to abolish parking charges for staff without impacting on hospital budgets, encouraging them to avoid the risks of using public transport.

But Health minister Edward Argar said recently: “Free parking for staff has only been made possible by support from local authorities and independent providers and this support cannot continue indefinitely.”

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NHS workers at nearby Milton Keynes University Hospital have been told they will continue to get free parking. Director of corporate affairs, Kate Jarman, tweeted last night: "Parking for all staff has been free for staff at MK Hospitals since last year and will stay free."

But Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust — which runs the John Radcliffe Hospital — has told its staff that parking will return to pre-Covid arrangements from next Monday and only staff with permits will be able to park for free.

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