Thousands of NHS staff will be hit with ‘disgusting’ hikes for their hospital car parking, making a mockery of Ministers’ temporary free parking pledge, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
An internal document leaked to this newspaper shows the cost of annual parking permits will go up by 200 per cent for NHS workers at one of the UK’s biggest trusts, with new permits costing up to £1,440.
One senior nurse, who has worked for the NHS for 30 years, will see her annual parking charge rise from £240 to £720 as a result.
She told this newspaper: ‘We’re being treated badly enough as nurses with no real pay rise.
Thousands of NHS staff will be hit with ‘disgusting’ hikes for their hospital car parking, making a mockery of Ministers’ temporary free parking pledge
‘Morale is low anyway. We’re all absolutely shattered, and you don’t feel your hospital is supporting you in any shape or form.’
The nurse said her colleagues are ‘absolutely furious’ but added: ‘Whisteblowers aren’t really thanked in the NHS. Otherwise everybody would be speaking out.’
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary said: ‘What a disgusting kick in the teeth to hard-working, brave NHS staff in the middle of the second coronavirus wave.
‘The fat cats running these car parks should be ashamed. Matt Hancock needs to step in and sort this out.’
This summer a Health Minister said free parking could not continue ‘indefinitely’ but the Government refused to clarify when it would end.
Staff at the trust were told the ‘new permits and pricing will be effective from December 1’.
It is understood no provisions have been made by Ministers to protect NHS staff from price hikes.
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary said: ‘What a disgusting kick in the teeth to hard-working, brave NHS staff in the middle of the second coronavirus wave
In the leaked email on October 26 from London’s Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to its staff, the trust blamed the Government’s decision to offer free parking to some patients as its reason for the hike.
Following a Tory manifesto pledge, free parking will be mandatory from the new year for some groups, including disabled people and staff on night shifts.
The parking lots are managed by the Car Parking Partnership, which runs NHS hospital parking across the UK.
Its parent company ParkingEye pockets as much as 85 per cent of the take in the Trust’s sites. In 2018, it paid a £5 million dividend to its previous owner, Capita, Companies House records show.
As well as the price hikes, the trust will also remove current discounts, including half-price passes for part-time workers and a discount for senior staff. Sources said the part-time change would affect ‘huge’ numbers of staff, in particular working mothers.
After being contacted by The Mail on Sunday, the trust appears to have changed its approach and said the charges would not come in on December 1. But it refused to clarify a new date for the change – and staff said they had nothing to suggest it is not going ahead next month.
A trust spokesman said: ‘To help us maintain our car parks and provide security staff to patrol these areas, the costs of staff parking permits will increase. Revenue from staff parking permits helps ensure that we can continue to maintain our car parks and equipment and provide security. However, in line with NHS policy during the Covid-19 pandemic, this will not be implemented until a later date.’
ParkingEye said: ‘Prices for parking at NHS sites are set by each local trust and health board. ParkingEye has no authority or influence in the decision to alter parking charges at any NHS site.’
Asked if it would repay any of the extra profit it made as a result of the price hikes, ParkingEye declined to comment.