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The calls to scrap staff parking charges at Cornish hospitals

The calls to scrap staff parking charges at Cornish hospitals

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 9:08am 20th February 2018. (Updated at 9:17am 20th February 2018)

Officials are set to debate calls to scrap parking fees for workers at the trust which runs Cornwall's biggest hospital.

Charges are worked out depending on staff salaries and means some are paying hundreds of pounds a year.

Councillor Mario Fonk is one of those taking a motion to Cornwall Council, calling the fees outrageous.

He told Pirate FM: "It's to highlight the injustice of forcing NHS staff to pay for the privilege of parking when really, they are busy saving lives.

"I think that it is wrong that they have to pay anything between £200 and £500 per anum to park".

Mario added: "In the first instance I want all the charges for the NHS, especially nurses and low-paid workers, to be abolished.

"My long-term objective is to see all car parking charges for everybody scrapped; it's just not right".

At the end of 2017, Pirate FM told you about new figures revealing all the hospital parking charges for Cornwall.

The trust in charge of Treliske, which has a profit-share agreement with a private firm, collected almost £300,000 last year.

The nationwide total was £174 million pounds from charging patients, visitors and staff for parking and you can read more here.

The motion to scrap hospital parking charges in Cornwall is being debated at a full council meeting on Tuesday.

In response, the RCHT said: "Like most other NHS organisations the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust charges for staff car parking. This has been in place since 1992.

"The Trust has approximately 1500 onsite staff parking spaces, a number controlled by planning restrictions. With a workforce in excess of 5000 there are insufficient spaces for all those who might wish to park on site.

"Charging for parking at the hospitals ensures there is parity between those staff who need to park on site - primarily shift workers - and those who have to use alternatives. Staff are encouraged to use other forms of transport including local buses, Park & Ride and cycling, with improvements to cycle paths, storage and changing facilities in recent years.

"In comparison to other NHS Trusts the charges for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals are low at an average of 6p/hour, compared to the average for large acute trusts in the south of England at 21p/hour and neighbouring trusts like Plymouth Hospitals Trust at 21p/hour and Royal Devon & Exeter at 19p/hour. (Data source ERIC 2016-17)

"Increases to staff tariffs were made in 2015 as a direct result of Cornwall Council removing the concessionary permits for Park & Ride to which RCHT staff used to be entitled. This was done to maintain the equity between those able to park on site and those who could not be accommodated.

"Should staff parking charges be withdrawn then income would need to be diverted from patient care to offset the obligations under the current licence agreement with the car park operators, Q-Park.

"It would also encourage more cars to be driven to the hospital, increasing congestion and demand for spaces at the expense of more sustainable transport options that have been adopted over a period of years".

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