Protest over parking charges announced at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn
- Credit: QEH
A major hospital is under fire as staff are set to protest an increase in proposed parking charges a trade union has announced.
Unison, which represents the majority of staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn, has announced it will hold a rally outside the hospital's monthly board meeting on Tuesday, despite fellow union Unite cancelling its own protest.
It hopes to call a halt to what it claims to be controversial parking charges which could see costs double for some staff over the next few years.
Unison's regional organiser Peter Passingham said: 'The trust's annual report showed that in 2016/17 it made more than £1m profit from parking charges.
'This should be more than enough to fund any improvements or additional spaces that are required.
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'We believe the trust's intention is to use the parking charges to cover its shortfall in income caused by the government's underfunding of the NHS.'
More than 1,400 staff have signed a petition calling on the trust not to further increase parking charges after they received a rise for this first time since 2012 this year.
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However, a spokesman from the QEH insisted that no decisions have yet been made about future parking charges.
He said: 'We are still in conversation for future years and we are seeking to introduce a fair and equitable car parking system for staff and we are continuing to have discussions about future annual increases.'
Unison claim a 30pc increase in parking charges will give the trust an additional income of £400,000 each year.
Mr Passingham added: 'NHS treatment is supposed to be free to the paint of need but patients and staff are being charged a parking tax to pay for treatments.
'Norfolk is a rural area and many staff, patients and visitors have no option but to drive to the hospital and they will feel the financial impact of these increases.
'Staff have made it clear they are angry with the trust about these proposals.'
The protest hopes to urge the board to reconsider future increases at the next meeting on Tuesday May 29, however parking charges are not currently on the agenda for discussion at this meeting.