Increased parking charges at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn will eat up NHS staff pay rise
- Credit: QEH
A health union claims proposed increases to parking charges at a Norfolk hospital will wipe out the NHS pay rise for many staff.
Unite, the country's largest union, said some of the 3,000 workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King's Lynn, face a doubling of the charge by April 2020.
It has called on the board of the QEH to reconsider the increases at its next board meeting due on May 29.
The hospital has said it has to increase charges as a 'traffic management measure'. Internal e-mails say some patients have taken more than 30 minutes to find a parking space.
Short-stay charges to patients are going up from £1 to £1.30 an hour from June 1.
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Nurses, therapists, and pharmacists will now pay £22 a month, up from £15.96. This will rise to £27.50 in April 2019 and £33 in April 2020.
Unite lead officer for health in East Anglia Mark Robinson said: 'Hard-working staff at King's Lynn are faced with swingeing rises to park their car for work, which is a necessity for many because of poor public transport provision in Norfolk, especially at nights and weekends.
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'These increases will wipe out the gains in the current NHS pay package which will see most staff get a pay rise of 6.5 per cent over the next three years. This offer is currently being balloted on by the health unions.
'We are calling on the trust board when it next meets on May 29 to urgently reconsider the punitive nature of these parking charges – NHS staff should not be used as milch cows by trust managements under pressure because of a lack of central funding for the NHS by government.
'Unite is encouraging patients, their families and friends to contact the trust and urge them not to impose these increases.'
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: 'What is happening in King's Lynn is being replicated by financially squeezed trusts across England – our members are being used as an extra income stream for these trusts.
'We would like a situation where dedicated NHS staff, who don't earn a fortune, don't have to pay to park their cars to go to work and look after the sick, the vulnerable and the injured 365 days a year.'