Queen Alexandra Hospital parking: GMB calls for ban on staff parking charges

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A union boss has called for a blanket ban on car parking charges for NHS staff as new figures show staff at QA paid more than £700,000 to park their cars last year.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national officer, has spoken out after it was revealed that hospitals across England received over £190million from parking charges for visitors and staff. The News had already reported in January that Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) had received a huge increase of income in 2022/2023 with over a £1,700,000 charged to visitors. In addition to that staff were charged £714,000 in 2023.

Harrison commented that NHS staff have been "hammered by pay cuts, the pandemic and chronic understaffing" when calling for a ban on staff parking charges. She added: "Of course trusts are short of cash after years of underfunding - but the money they claw back from charging staff to park is a drop in the ocean, while it can mean the difference between getting by and going under for hard-pressed staff."

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PHU, whose main site is Queen Alexandra Hospital, responded to the increase in income from parking charges previously, citing a new multi-storey car park and a change of contract structure as a reason for the increase in 2022/2023.

A spokesperson said: “The money raised from parking charges is invested back into the hospital and free parking is available for certain patients, visitors, and carers including blue badge holders and those staying overnight with children. Visitors dropping off or collecting a patient are also entitled to 20 minutes free parking. In 2022, as part of our work to develop the QA Hospital site, we opened a new North multi-storey car park providing additional car parking spaces for patients and visitors. This alongside changes in in how we sub-contract the management of our car parks, contributes towards the difference in income.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson responded to the calls for free parking for NHS staff. They said: "We will always support hardworking NHS staff and we have delivered on the commitment to provide free hospital car parking in England for those most in need. Since 2022, all trusts have made hospital car parking free for blue badge holders, parents of very sick children, frequent attenders and NHS staff on night shifts, and this the first time that NHS hospital car parking has been free nationally across England for these groups."

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