Hospitals charge NHS workers £500 to use staff car park

Hospitals charge NHS workers £500 to use staff car park while they battle Covid pandemic that has killed colleagues

  • Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust introduced charges in a bid to ‘manage demand’ 
  • One worker said staff are ‘angry’ about move as colleagues have died in Covid 
  • Trust said that it had free parking in place ‘whenever possible’ until January 26

A hospital trust is charging NHS workers more than £500 per year to use the staff car park as they continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust claim to have introduced the charges in a bid to ‘manage demand’ after ‘car parks became far too busy’ in recent weeks, the Mirror reported.

One NHS worker explained staff are ‘angry’ about the move as they have ‘had no perks during the pandemic,’ adding that ‘nurses, cleaners and porters’ at the Trust have died due to the virus.

They added: ‘It’s a tough time and I can’t afford to pay these charges.’

Matt Hancock promised at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak that ministers would cover the costs of hospital car parking for NHS staff ‘going above and beyond every day’ in England. 

However, the Department of Health said in July that the scheme cannot continue indefinitely and only ‘key patient groups’ and staff in ‘certain circumstances’ will be able to park for free. 

Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust have introduced the charges in a bid to ‘manage demand’ after ‘car parks became far too busy’ in recent weeks. Pictured:  St Helier Hospital in Sutton

Matt Hancock promised at the start of the Covid-19 outbreak that ministers would cover the costs of hospital car parking for NHS staff ‘going above and beyond every day’ in England. Pictured: Epsom Hospital

The Trust claims it had free parking in place ‘whenever possible’ between March and January. 

It then reinstated charges for employees from January 26, with staff asked to pay up to £500 per year for a card allowing them to park outside the two hospitals in Epsom and Sutton.   

Bosses claimed that rates were calculated in accordance with their salary. 

These charges reportedly range from £5 per day to £25 per year, with an additional £11 per week for a ‘scratch card’ to display in the window.

Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust told the Mirror it ‘had no other option’ but to reintroduce parking charges as they ‘began to reinstate outpatient appointments and planned care procedures following the first wave.’

The Trust claims it had free parking in place ‘whenever possible’ between March and January. Pictured: Stock image

A statement added: ‘Despite offering all staff access to free and discounted parking options nearby, as well as increasing our free park and ride services and introducing additional pick up and drop off spots, the situation had become so difficult that we were causing large tailbacks onto public highways, and finding a space was so challenging that staff were late for work and patients late for long-awaited appointments.’

Bosses added it had introduced a ‘number of measures’ to support their staff throughout the pandemic, including free hot meals and a ‘broad range of measures to aid staff health and well being.’ 

MailOnline has contacted Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust for further comment. 

Fury erupted in July after the Department of Health admitted a scheme for ministers to cover the cost of hospital car parking for NHS staff could not continue indefinitely. 

It said only ‘key patient groups’ and staff in ‘certain circumstances’ would be able to park for free. 

Doctors slammed the move, with the British Medical Association calling it a ‘rebuff to the immense efforts of staff and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’.

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