UNISON has launched a survey of NHS staff in hospitals, to get a fuller understanding of what is happening about free car parking for workers as the lockdown eases.
Hospital parking has been free for NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, while local authorities and private providers have also offered free parking to health and social care staff.
At the beginning of July, the prime minister confirmed that parking would remain free until the end of the pandemic.
In addition, NHS England People Plan, which was published at the beginning of August, stated that: “NHS organisations should continue to give their people free car parking at their place of work for the duration of the pandemic”.
However, UNISON is aware that some hospital trusts have already reinstated or are planning to reinstate parking charges for staff – even though the Coronavirus crisis is not over.
When notified that one site that had reinstated charges, the Department of Health said that the site should “be reinstating free parking for staff post-haste, as they were never given any direction they should stop it.”
The short survey will give a better picture of what is happening across England, Northern Ireland and the three sites in Scotland that usually charge.
UNISON will use the information provided to talk to employers about the difference that free parking has made to staff, and to campaign for parking to remain free for staff during the pandemic.
We will also make the case that the pandemic has proved that it is possible for trusts to let staff park for free, and will encourage branches to use our campaign to push for a continuation of free parking when the crisis is over.