Hospital protest over car parking charges suspended pending talks
- Credit: Ian Burt
Doctors, nurses and hospital staff have agreed to suspend a protest over car parking charges for further talks.
A demonstration was due to be held at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn on Tuesday, May 29 over proposed increases to car parking charges for staff, patients and visitors.
It was to coincide with the hospital trust's board meeting at 10am, where bosses will discuss the increases due to be implemented on Friday, June 1.
But trade union Unite said the protest has been cancelled for further talks to take place.
This move follows talks between health unions and the management at the trust when a revised set of charges were proposed.
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Car parking charges were originally set to rise by 30pc, with a two-hour stay going up from £2 to £2.60 and each extra hour increasing from £1 to £1.30.
Unite said the increases for 2018/19 will go ahead in line with those charged by nearby hospitals and future rises will be by consultation and pegged to NHS pay rises.
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It said many of the 3,000 staff at the hospital had previously faced a doubling of the charges by April 2020.
Unite lead officer for health in East Anglia Mark Robinson said: 'Unite welcomes these developments and looks forward to constructive talks with the trust for a sensible solution to this issue.
'As a gesture of goodwill, the protest at the trust board's meeting on Tuesday has been suspended to create a positive environment for talks.
'I would like to thank our members for the solidarity they have shown on this issue, so far, as this has contributed to the revised set of charges, which while not completely satisfactory, is a step forward.'
Last month the hospital's chief executive Jon Green said the price increases were reasonable as staff parking charges have not changed since 2012.
Work to create 117 new spaces in three extra areas for parking began earlier this month, after the trust received complaints from visitors and patients of lengthy waiting times.
The work is expected to cost around £650,000.