Staff fury over QE2 parking price hike

PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 July 2013

New car park at the QE2 hospital

New car park at the QE2 hospital

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ANGRY hospital staff at a Welwyn Garden City hospital have criticised bosses for increasing parking charges by more than 50 per cent.

An anonymous employee sent the Welwyn Hatfield Times a strongly worded letter expressing their anger at the changes being made by the East and North Herts NHS Trust (ENHT), which oversees the QE2 and Lister hospitals.

The letter states: “Doctors, nurses and consultants are so angry that ENHT [are] putting up staff parking charges [after] they only had [a] 1 per cent pay rise in the last 3 or 4 years.”

The writer states the monthly parking fees, which came into force on Monday, have increased by 63 per cent, which was confirmed by a spokesman for the trust.

The cost of permits increase in price by pay scale, for every £10,000 earned, and deductions can be made by opting into salary sacrifice schemes.

This means a member of staff earning less than £9,999 a year will now pay £15 a month for a parking permit, and top earners, who are paid more than £100,000 a year, will pay £70 a month to park.

Hannah Middleton, a Unison representative for the ENHT, said: “We understand the reasons and rationale behind it [the changes] but parking has not gone up for the last two years.

“Although we would have preferred if they had been increased in increments, we are still the cheapest in the east of England.”

She also said three or four petitions were making their way around the QE2.

But Karen Webb, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said they had been “shocked” by the “massive increase”. She said: “Many dedicated and hard-working RCN members have expressed anger at this decision and feel yet again senior managers have let them down.

“The excessive increase doesn’t create a single new car parking space and will be used purely to mask the funding failures in the NHS.”

Nick Carver, chief executive at the trust, said savings of approximately £19.5million need to be found during 2013/2014.

He said: “Putting up parking charges, whether for our visitors or staff, is never welcome news.

“But the changes to staff parking permit charges coming in from July 1 need to be set in the context of the very challenging financial environment facing the NHS, which clearly includes the Trust.”

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