Unions criticise Northampton General Hospital for parking rates rise

Peter Savage, regional organiser for Unison in the Nothampton General Hospital car park
Peter Savage, regional organiser for Unison in the Nothampton General Hospital car park

Student nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants may be put off from studying at the University of Northampton if they are forced to pay £10 a day to park at the town’s hospital site, according to a union leader.

Northampton General Hospital announced this week that staff car parking charges are set to rise by 50 per cent from April 1.

In a major review of parking arrangements at the hospital, staff who park in Midsummer Meadow car park will pay £15 instead of £10 a month and for those who park in the barrier car parks this will be an increase of £20 to £30 a month. Bank, agency staff, students and “non-essentials” will also no longer be issued with parking permits resulting in parking charges increasing from £10 a week to £10 a day.

Steve Bennett, secretary of the Northampton Unison branch, said the new parking rules would put students in a vulnerable position when completing a six-week placement at Northampton General Hospital.

He said: “I think this is going to be students in a really difficult position as they are already paying a high amount of tuition fees.

“How are they going to be able to afford £50 an extra week? It is also going to put them in a vulnerable position as they often finish in unsociable hours and, if they park off site, will have a long way to walk alone.”

A petition against the plans to change the parking arrangements for students has been started by the student union at the University of Northampton.

Moira Ingham, dean of the School of Health at the University of Northampton, said the University of Northampton was currently in negotiations with the executive team at Northampton General Hospital regarding the increase in car parking charges for students.

Charles Abolins, NGH director of facilities and capital development, said one of the hospital’s key priorities was to improve parking for patients and this required a reduction in staff parking permits.