Free parking for all NHS and social care workers during coronavirus crisis
- Credit: Nick Butcher
NHS staff are to be given free car parking with immediate effect at hospitals and other medical facilities for the duration of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Social care staff and health service volunteers will also be exempt from parking charges.
NHS Trusts set their own parking charges, but the Government will cover the cost of any income lost from daily fees paid by staff, the Department of Health said.
The announcement comes after mounting public pressure, with over 400,000 people signing a petition, set up by an NHS GP, for the fees to be scrapped.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has 850 car parking spaces for visitors and patients, with charges normally start at £3 for 30 minutes.
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Frontline workers will also be able to use council parking bays without time restriction or charge, local government secretary Robert Jenrick has promised.
Matt Hancock, health secretary, said: “Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this time.
“So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.
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“My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other trusts to do the same with our backing.
“We will do what is needed to protect the NHS, support our health and care staff, and save lives as we tackle Covid-19.”
The new free parking on council land for health workers, social care workers and NHS volunteers will apply to all on-street parking and open, council-run car parks including pay and display.
Mr Jenrick said councils would set up arrangements so those eligible could provide suitable evidence to display in their windscreen and avoid a ticket.
Private company the National Car Parking Group has also said it will provide NHS staff free parking at all 150 of its sites in England.
Many councils and NHS trusts have already suspended parking charges for key workers during the coronavirus pandemic.