Hos­pi­tal trust makes £1m on staff park­ing

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN JOHN­SON

THE Pen­nine Acute Hos­pi­tals NHS Trust made more than £1 mil­lion by charg­ing staff for park­ing last year, it has been re­vealed.

Fig­ures re­leased by the NHS show the trust, which op­er­ates North Manch­ester Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, raked in £1.35 mil­lion in the year to March from charges and penalty fines in­curred by NHS work­ers park­ing across all its sites.

NHS trusts across Eng­land made a com­bined to­tal of al­most £70m from staff park­ing charges over the same pe­riod.

Unite, a union which rep­re­sents around 100,000 health work­ers, has slammed the ‘scan­dalous’ fig­ures, which it said amounted to a ‘tax on hard­pressed’ em­ploy­ees.

Sarah Car­pen­ter, na­tional of­fi­cer for health at Unite, said: “It is a scan­dal that NHS trusts in Eng­land have pock­eted nearly £70m from staff car park­ing charges.

“Such a large fig­ure will take a large chunk out of the gains in the cur­rent NHS pay pack­age which saw most staff get a pay rise of 6.5% over the next three years. This per­ni­cious trend is repli­cated by fi­nan­cially squeezed trusts across Eng­land - our mem­bers are be­ing used as an ex­tra in­come stream for these trusts.

“We would like a sit­u­a­tion where ded­i­cated NHS staff, who don’t earn a for­tune, don’t have to pay to park their cars to go to work to look af­ter the sick, the vul­ner­a­ble and the in­jured 365 days a year.”

Bri­tish Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion coun­cil chair, Dr Chaand Nag­paul, added that it was “un­ac­cept­able” for hos­pi­tals to plug fi­nan­cial gaps by charg­ing and im­pos­ing fines on staff.

The fig­ures also re­veal the trust made a fur­ther £1.7m from park­ing charges paid by pa­tients and vis­i­tors to its sites in the same fi­nan­cial year.

This brought their to­tal in­come from car park­ing to £3.1 mil­lion.

Across Eng­land, al­most £157m was raised from charges in­curred by pa­tients and vis­i­tors.

The fig­ures rep­re­sent the gross in­come earned by the NHS and do not take into ac­count its own costs for pro­vid­ing car park­ing.

Pa­tients’ rights cam­paign­ers the Pa­tients As­so­ci­a­tion has crit­i­cised the ex­is­tence of park­ing charges for pa­tients, de­scrib­ing them as “a charge on peo­ple who are un­well, levied on them be­cause they are un­well.”

How­ever, chief ex­ec­u­tive Rachel Power said they were a way for hos­pi­tals to gen­er­ate rev­enue at a time when they are un­der ‘im­mense’ fi­nan­cial pres­sure. She con­tin­ued: “The top pri­or­ity for any new NHS fund­ing should be pa­tient care. At a time when pa­tients are re­ceiv­ing undig­ni­fied and un­safe care on hos­pi­tal cor­ri­dors, car park­ing charges are not the top pri­or­ity – un­de­sir­able though they may be.”

De­ci­sions on how much to charge pa­tients, staff and vis­i­tors to NHS sites are made by in­di­vid­ual trusts.

North Manch­ester Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal

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