Free hospital parking for NHS staff to end in England today
1 April 2022, 12:00
The decision to axe free parking for NHS staff has been highly criticised.
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Free parking at hospitals for NHS staff in England will end on Friday, March 31.
This comes just less than two years after the fees were removed for NHS workers amid the peak of the pandemic.
Now, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has announced the benefit will be removed and NHS staff will have to start paying to park at hospitals again.
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The written statement to the Commons from Sajid Javid read: "Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also come to an end on March 31."
He went on to add: "However, over 93% of NHS trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including NHS staff working overnight."
The decision to cut the benefit has been met with outrage from unions, who said this decision from the Government, on top of the rising cost of living, could force many members of staff to quit.
National Officer for the GMB Union Rachel Harrison said: "Charging the NHS staff who’ve risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work is a sick joke.
“After the years of Tory cuts NHS trusts are struggling, we know. But scrabbling the money back off hard up workers is not the answer.
“The government must now legislate for free hospital staff parking once and for all.”
Labour have also criticised the decision, saying in a statement: "It does seem a very odd way to thank NHS staff for their efforts over the pandemic, and in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis to take away free hospital parking at this time."
The Department of Health and Social Care have made clear that the benefit was only "temporary" and was only set to be in place "for the duration of the pandemic".
They added that the scheme has cost around £130million over the past two years.