‘Unfair’: NHS nurses furious at decision to bring back ‘unaffordable’ parking charges

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Some nurses at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital are unhappy at being made to pay to park again following the suspension of charges during the pandemic. Around 20,000 NHS workers at the West Midlands’ biggest hospital trust, including 7,000 nurses, will have to pay for parking from May.

The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust (UHB), which runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other hospitals in the West Midlands, announced it would be reinstating charges from May.

Other trusts in the Black Country, however, said they will not be reintroducing parking charges.

Some workers at the hospital have been left disappointed by the decision at a time when household costs are rising.

Olga Leach-Walters, a nurse and chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s South Birmingham branch, commented on what other healthcare workers had told her.

She said: “There is a feeling from some that it is unfair. 

“Some feel it’s uncomfortable, some feel it’s unaffordable, some feel it’s ok.

“With all the rising of everything, they think ‘this has risen’, they are not expecting car parking as well.

“Members have called and said they can’t afford it, others have said they will just have to afford it,” she told Birmingham Live.

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The change means that nurses at Queen Elizabeth Hospital will have to pay to park but those at Birmingham City Hospital won’t, as it is run by Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust. 

This comes after Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that free parking for NHS staff was coming to an end at the beginning of April.

He said the pandemic had moved on to a “new stage” after the Government invested more than £130million to ensure that free hospital car parking was available to NHS staff for the duration of the pandemic.

Mr Javid thanked NHS staff for their work throughout the pandemic, saying they worked “tirelessly”.

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