Doctors and nurses to protest against car park charge rises

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEH

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, in King's Lynn. Photo: QEH - Credit: QEH

Nurses, doctors and other hospital staff are set stage a protest to denounce impending increases to car parking charges.

The demonstration at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn will take place on Tuesday, May 29 at 10am.

This will coincide with the hospital trust's board meeting, where bosses will discuss the increases due to be implemented on Friday, June 1. Prices for visitors, patients and staff will increase by 30pc, with a two-hour stay going up from £2 to £2.60 and each extra hour increasing from £1 to £1.30. A weekly ticket will go up from £22 to £28.

The protest is being staged by members of trade union Unite, who claim many of the 3,000 staff at the hospital face a doubling of the charges by April 2020.

Unite lead officer for health in East Anglia Mark Robinson said: 'Unite has discovered that the trust already receives over £1.1m a year in car parking revenue, of which a significant proportion comes from employees. However, the last accounts demonstrated that only £260,000 was spent on the car park during 2016/17.

'Staff are being used as a milch cow because of the serious current underfunding of the NHS by the government.

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'The proposed increases have infuriated doctors and nurses at the QEH, and would effectively wipe out any benefit from the 3pc pay offer for NHS staff presently being voted on by health union members.

'Doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will be outside the board meeting on Tuesday to show their strength of feeling. While they understand the trust's financial position, they do not believe it should be the hard working staff, who have barely seen their pay rise over the last seven years, who pick up the tab.

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'If the trust does not remove these proposals then Unite and other health unions will consider balloting its members for some form of industrial action.'

But the hospital's chief executive Jon Green said the price increases were reasonable as staff parking charges have not changed since 2012.

Work has begun on creating more than 100 extra spaces at the car park which has cost around £650,000, after the trust received complaints from visitors and patients of lengthy waiting times.

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