Readers respond to NHS parking charge hike
Observer readers have shared their views after it was revealed that staff at St Richards hospital would have to pay more money for their parking in a new 'green scheme'.
The trust said investment for the ‘improvements’ was being partly sourced by change to the cost of staff parking permits – something that has sparked the creation of an online petition which says the price increase ‘adds insult to injury’ for staff.
Commenting on a post on the Chichester Observer facebook page, readers expressed their concern over the idea while others agreed with it.
Laura Enfys Bailey said: "I'd really want to walk or cycle home on a bitterly cold December night with a 13 hour shift finishing at 3am...
"Our hospital employees should be able to get home safely and quickly, especially when they are only out of the hospital for ten hours before the start of a new shift. I'm pretty disgusted they must pay anything at all to park."
When approached for comment, Colin White, Royal College of Nurses officer for Sussex said: "We've not heard from any members that they are unhappy. The Trust simply doesn't have the rooms to offer more parking on site.
"The travel plan is actually well thought out and addresses many of the long term travel problems that staff have had. Some members of staff will pay less, others more."
The petition has been signed more than 1,000 times.
Fran Chipperfield said: "The Welsh Assembly seems to take better care of it's people as there are no longer any perking fees for hospitals. We could take a leaf out of their book and start looking after our people better.
"It's hard enough visiting someone who is ill without having additional financial worry. A ticketing system could be used to avoid people parking who are not using the system. Staff should not need to pay."
The permit prices are due to go up in October and a spokesman for the trust said that an employee in band five (£22,128 - £28,746) who would have to pay £17.50 per month, would have to pay £27 – an increase of 54 per cent – under the new rules.
Judith Evans said: "Patients and visitors are always complaining and it can take an good half hour to get out of the current car park at peak hour. Better to use a city car park in Chichester and walk up if you are able bodied."
Apologies for an error in last weeks coverage of the 'Green Travel Plan' which mistakenly listed the costs as weekly rather than monthly