Ministers to scrap free parking for NHS and care staff

MINISTERS are set to scrap a free emergency parking pass given to NHS and care staff during the pandemic.

The permit, which entitled NHS, health and social care workers, and NHS volunteers, to free parking while on duty, will be worthless from next month.

Updated government guidance said the decision was taken as part of the roadmap out of lockdown.

It means that the key workers who use the scheme will have to pay for parking or face being fined after June 21. 

The new guidance says: “Local councils are responsible for setting their own local policy on parking.

“Therefore, current or potential pass holders are advised to contact their local council to find out about any local plans for the future of the parking pass, or to check whether they are eligible for other local parking permits.”

The passes, provided through NHS trusts, councils, and the Royal Voluntary Service, allow staff to park in off-street car parks and on-street bays without having to pay.

NHS Providers’ deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said the decision was a “disappointment”.

She told the HSJ: “We would urge the MHCLG to keep its policy under review in case the government’s roadmap needs to change in light of new data.

“More broadly, we know NHS staff have welcomed free car parking on site during the pandemic and many will want this to continue after the pandemic has ended.

"Trusts should be able to choose to provide free car parking to their staff, if they have the available capacity and infrastructure.

“But such a policy needs to come with sufficient funding: without it, any new financial pressures will inevitably lead to resources being taken from frontline services and will impact on patient care.”

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “It’s far too soon to be taking free parking away, particularly with the general lack of clarity about local lockdown measures.”

The Sun has contacted the Department of Health and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for comment.

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