Hospital staff pay to park at work

STAFF at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital will pay up to £20 a month to park at work.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is introducing a charging scheme for staff car parking as part of a new transport plan.

Under the scheme staff at Pilgrim will be charged between £3.83-£20 a month based on pay, role and full or part-time work.

A spokesman for the trust said: “In line with national requirements, all large organisations have to implement a travel plan to reduce the impact of traffic on the local community and environment.

“As part of our travel plan we provide facilities for staff using their cars to get to work but are also encouraging alternative methods such as car sharing, cycling and introducing park and ride.”

However, there are concerns the scheme could be seen as a further attack on public sector workers’ incomes.

An anonymous letter to The Standard said: “With a wage freeze, inflation and a recession where work is hard to find I consider it insensitive of the trust to impose these fees on their workers at a time when wages are already hard stretched.”

Borough councillor Carol Taylor, who works at the hospital, said: “It’s unfortunately a magnificent way of making money.”

She added she had worked all over the country and Lincolnshire was the only hospital she had worked at which hadn’t charged for parking and that she hoped the money would be used to fix the car parks.

She opts to pay for parking in the town despitegetting a free council parking permit and believes the authority should follow the hospital’s lead and charge for parking.

The Trust has 2,275 car parking spaces across three hospital sites it runs and is understood to be the only acute hospital trust in the country that does not currently charge. The new charges are being rolled out at all sites.

The spokesman said the money could be invested in patient care. It could also be used to reinvest in travel facilities including new lining and barriers on car parks, extra spaces, new travel schemes and CCTV.

Anyone who does not pay the charge could face a £60 fine.