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Union slams decision to reintroduce car parking charges for hospital staff

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Union members have slammed a decision to reintroduce parking fees for staff at Lynn’s hospital – arguing it is a “charge on coming to work”.Last week, Queen Elizabeth Hospital workers had charges for parking brought back in for the first time since during pandemic restrictions, when NHS trusts in England made it free.At the QEH, charges are based on salary amount. They start at £5 per month for anyone earning under £14,999, and go up to £35 for anyone earning above £114,949 – with several price points on this scale.

Car parking charges have been reintroduced for staff at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital

The UNISON trade union has claimed that these prices mean some staff “will be on less than the minimum wage”.However, QEH figures have insisted this is not the case. John Syson, director of people at the hospital, said: “We do not pay any staff below minimum wage. We have reintroduced car parking charges for staff after pausing them since 2020 and these charges remain at 2019 pricing.“Any money raised from car parking at the trust goes directly back into patient care and making improvements to our car parks.“This reintroduction brings us in line with the other acute hospitals in Norfolk and Waveney. Members of staff that are in financial difficulty are encouraged to seek support from the trust.”The QEH trust announced its plans to reintroduce charges last year. More than 1,500 workers signed a UNISON petition against the fees. Sharon Howlett, UNISON’s QEH branch secretary, said: “Many NHS staff are really struggling to get by, the last thing they need is a new charge on coming to work.“Public transport simply isn’t an option for most workers at QEH, they’ll have no choice but to pay these parking fees.“QEH should follow the example in Scotland and Wales and do away with parking charges.”

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