The health department has confirmed the scheme will continue only for ‘key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances’. With Free hospital parking for most NHS staff will end. Once the coronavirus pandemic begins to ease, the Government has confirmed.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced at the start of the coronavirus pandemic on March 25. The Government would cover the costs of car parking for NHS staff. That came after more than 400,000 people signed a petition calling for the charges to be scrapped during the crisis. But the Department of Health has now indicated that the scheme will continue. Only for ‘key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances’ as the pandemic eases, although no further information has been released.
The BMA & Health Minister
The British Medical Association (BMA) has said to reintroduce charges while the virus is still being fought would be ‘a rebuff to the immense efforts of staff across the country and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’.
Health minister Edward Agar confirmed last week the scheme ‘cannot continue indefinitely’ went on to say the support to make free parking available ‘cannot continue indefinitely’ and added that the Government was looking at how long it would ‘need’ to go on. Responding on to a question raised from Labour’s Rachael Maskell. He said: ‘The provision of free parking for National Health Service staff by NHS Trusts has not ended and nothing has changed since the announcement on 25 March. ‘However, free parking for staff has only been made possible by support from local authorities and independent providers and this support cannot continue indefinitely.’
More than 400,000 people signed a petition calling for the charges to be scrapped during the pandemic. The Government wanted to be able to make good on its promise of free hospital parking for the disabled, frequent outpatient attendees, parents of sick children who are staying overnight and nightshift workers.
He said: ‘Implementation of this commitment has been on hold whilst the NHS has been managing the Covid-19 pandemic and devoting its hospital parking capacity to staff and other facilities necessary for managing the pandemic.’ In response to a furtherr question from Labour’s Zarah Sultana, Mr Argar said the Government was ‘considering how long free parking for National Health Service staff will need to continue, recognising that this has only been made possible by external support from local authorities and independent sector providers’.
Support For Free NHS Parking
Baroness Nicky Morgan, a former Cabinet minister, told Sky News that reintroducing the charges was ‘something that will very much need to be looked at again’. She added: ‘I’m not aware of the decision and the parameters people are making the decisions under, but it does seem very strange given how hard our NHS and care workers have worked over the last few months that this decision has been taken.’ Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Layla Moran said NHS workers must not be ‘saddled with extortionate parking charges’ and said removing charges for staff had been ‘the right move’.
She said: ‘Our healthcare workers deserved to have certainty that they could get to work without extra charges or hassle. ‘Now the Government must provide clarity and ensure our workers are not saddled with extortionate parking charges.’ Free parking will end in all but ‘certain circumstances’ Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said: ‘The BMA has always believed that it is unacceptable for staff who serve in our health service to be required to pay significant amounts of money to park their car in hospital grounds.
Free Parking For All Of The Emergency Services
With all of the emergency services playing their part during the pandemic, at Life Insurance Cover we suggest that not only should all of the NHS workers get free parking for the hard work they do. But also include the police and the fire service into the discussion as well. They all keep us safe, perform roles that not everyone can do.
One of the many providers for onsite car parking for NHS Trusts has already come forward to confirm, that they will still provide free parking for staff.
What We Can Do
As with all elected people within parliament, they remain accountable for their choices whilst in office. Signing the petition will force the issue to be discussed. Also information through the media, will force the government and opposition to discuss and provide the required legislation.