UK News

Ending free parking for NHS staff is a ‘slap in the face’, says GP Hilary UK News

Ending free parking for NHS staff amid high Covid-19 case numbers is a ‘slap in the face’ for those working for the health service, a GP has told Good Morning Britain.

Dr Hilary Jones has called on the government to rethink its plan to scrap the right of NHS workers to park for free in hospitals in England from Friday. Free parking was introduced as a temporary measure to help staff during the Covid pandemic.

“All the reasons, all the justifications for giving free parking to NHS staff during the pandemic are still there,” Dr Hilary told Good Morning Britain on Wednesday.

Read more:How Covid cases are rising in the North East

“They’re still working unpaid overtime. They’re still struggling to get to work. Let’s make it easy for them to get to work, to do the job we want them to do, not take away free parking. It’s a slap in the face.”

Parking fees in England were scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic, but Sajid Javid said the benefit would end on Friday. Staff are not charged for parking at NHS hospitals in Wales and Scotland.

In a Covid-19 update, Mr Javid wrote: “Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also end on March 31.

“However, over 93% of NHS trusts that charge for parking have implemented free parking for those who need it most, including NHS staff working night shifts.”

He added: “On behalf of the government, I would like to express my thanks to all those who have worked tirelessly to keep people safe over the past two years and whose efforts have enabled us to move to the next stage of the Covid-19 response.”

Rachel Harrison, national officer of the GMB union, told the PA news agency: ‘To charge NHS staff who risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work is a bad joke.

“After years of Tory cuts, NHS trusts are in trouble, we know that.

“But taking money away from hard workers is not the solution.

“The government must now legislate free parking for hospital staff once and for all.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told PA: ‘Our incredible key NHS workers are putting their lives on the line to help us get through this pandemic.

“Abolition of free parking in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis is a poor way to reimburse this service.

“The government should give health workers an appropriate pay rise – without adding to their bills.

“And it should fund our NHS properly so that hospitals don’t have to depend on car parks for their income.”

The Department of Health and Social Care said the benefit was “temporary” and introduced in July 2020 “for the duration of the pandemic”.

He said the program had cost around £130million over the past two years.

Unison health manager Sara Gorton added: ‘This is no way for the NHS to hang on to staff in today’s job market.

“The parking fees will add hundreds of pounds to the huge cost pressures healthcare staff are already facing and will further reduce their morale.

“Those already on the verge of leaving the NHS may well see the last straw and head for the exit, just as the service is most in need of experienced staff.

“More than a third of staff have had to ask family or friends for financial support in the past year, according to Unison research.

“More than two-fifths say they take extra work to make ends meet.

“This is the reality facing health workers. An anti-inflationary pay rise is essential to prevent more staff leaving NHS jobs this year. »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *