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Free Parking in Hospital Car Parks on its Way


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UPDATED

06 FEB 2020


While there are many issues with the NHS, a significant contention has been the lack of free hospital parking. Many people have suffered because of the costs associated with parking at hospitals, including staff members. However, it is hoped that there will be changes come April 2020, which is positive news for employees and patients alike.

From April, all of the hospital trusts in England should offer this concession, which was included in the manifesto of the Government. The free car parking option will benefit those in the greatest need of the service, which provides for people with disabilities and NHS employees working night shifts.

Currently, the hourly charge for parking at a hospital varies between £1 and £4. Each Trust has the freedom to set their own car parking rates.

Who will get free parking?
• Holders of the Blue Badge
• Outpatients who frequently attend in the management of long-term conditions and who must attend regular appointments
• Free parking will also be provided, at certain times, to parents of sick children who are staying in hospital overnight and employees who work nightshifts

While this offer will be of benefit to many NHS employees, there will be unhappiness at some healthcare professionals benefitting from free parking while others don’t. Ideally, there should be free parking offered to all healthcare workers. Many nurses have had to walk long distances to return to their car, and others have spent a lot of money to use their vehicle for work purposes.

These aren’t excellent outcomes. By themselves, they wouldn’t be something which causes a professional to consider leaving their job. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it is easy to see why some professionals will not be happy with this situation. When there are no free car parking facilities, allied to other problems and issues, it is easy to see why many healthcare professionals feel unhappy in their job.

NHS Trusts must manage their budget
While it is good to see changes like this, there are concerns some NHS Trusts will suffer as they receive less income. In 2018, NHS Trusts in England received more than £254m in car parking charges and a total of £1.5million in parking fines. With the Conservative Party stating £78m per year will be provided, there is a shortfall, which means some Trusts have a difficult decision to make.

The Patients Association has called for hospital parking to be free, saying the fees are “a charge on people who are unwell”. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said; “We are today delivering on our manifesto commitment and setting out our new approach to NHS hospital parking charges”.

Atlantis Medical knows how hard healthcare professionals work and how costly car parking at hospitals can be. It is vital patients are supported during challenging times, but more needs to be done to provide backing to healthcare workers. It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, the removal of certain car parking charges has on healthcare professionals in 2020.

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