Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/nclexion/public_html/wp-content/themes/jnews/class/ContentTag.php on line 47
The Scottish Government has announced that the suspension of charges at three hospitals that are run via private finance initiatives will continue until September, under its Covid-19 measures.
The move was announced yesterday by health secretary Jeane Freeman, after what was described by the government as successful talks with the hospital owners.
Staff, visitors and patients at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee will continue to access free car parking until the end of September 2020.
“NHS staff should not experience any unnecessary difficulties whilst they continue to go above and beyond during the pandemic”
It follows Ms Freeman’s announcement in March that parking charges at these hospitals would be suspended for an initial period of three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Scottish Government abolished charges at NHS car parks in 2008. But PFI contracts prevented it from abolishing charges at the three and there is no ability to renegotiate or buyout the contract.
The government said that, since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, it had worked with the PFI providers to lift charges at these car parks.
It noted that at the three car parks, concessions were already available under certain circumstances such as for visitors of patients where it related to a case of extreme trauma or bereavement.
Ms Freeman said: “I want to once again thank all our health and social care staff for their ongoing extraordinary efforts as we face this pandemic. Because of them, the NHS remains open.
“The staff of the NHS should not experience any unnecessary difficulties whilst they continue to go above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“At the end of March, I confirmed car park providers at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital had agreed to remove car parking charges for staff, visitors and patients for three months, and I’m pleased to announce this provision will be extended for a further three months until the end of September.”
She added: “Our health and safety are their top priorities, and so it’s important we remove any barriers that get in their way.”
NHS hospital car parking fees were abolished in Scotland and Wales in 2008, with the exception of the small number of hospitals in Scotland with ongoing facilities contracts with private companies.
On 24 March, Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann announced that he had secured financial support to reimburse parking charges to health and social care staff during the pandemic.
The following day, the government in England announced it was giving “immediate financial backing” for all NHS trusts to provide free car parking to NHS staff for the duration of coronavirus, in the wake of union pressure.
Previously, in December, it had instructed trusts to begin the roll-out of free parking from April for nurses and other staff on night shifts as well as patients deemed to be in “greatest need”.
It said all 206 acute trusts would be “expected” to begin roll out of free parking to groups who are “frequent hospital visitors or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges”.
Earlier calls and opposition pledges over the years for free staff parking across England have been rejected, largely due to its complexity, with most trusts having autonomy over their arrangements.
Nursing Times campaigned on the issue of parking charges in 2008-09. Our Free Parking campaign called on trusts to drop “unfair” charges for staff.