Tuesday, 29 December 2009

NHS Parking: Media misses the point

The BBC and mainstream media seems pretty interested in the government's talk of making parking fees fairer at UK hospitals. In my opinion it has long been unacceptable to expect patients and relatives to pay inflated parking fees for various essential hospital visits.
The most outrageous thing that has gone on the last few years has not been these fees for patients and relatives, it has been the introduction of huge fees for staff to park where they work. Virtually every single NHS trust I know now charges staff extortionate fees to park at their place of work. This is an absolute scandal. Not only has pay been going up at rates well below inflation but staff are essentially having their pay cut with these despicable parking fees. I wonder which other companies charge their employees such large lumps of their pay for the privilege of parking at work? Which other employers treat their employees which such utter contempt and disdain?

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Those in the private world criticise the cushy lives of public servants yet many of my friends working for industry not only get a free parking space but they get a car as well. And they even have a department which ensures their car is serviced and replaced at regular intervals. Meanwhile poorly paid staff in NHS hospitals with on call commitments over Christmas and no public transport they can rely upon are, as you say, charged exorbitant rates to park a car they have had to purchase themselves despite their out of hours commitments.

Dr Grumble said...

Dr Grumble shares your sentiments, Garth.

dearieme said...

I've worked for three employers who charged me to park; my last employer got round the problem by providing no parking for me, except when I needed to go back to work in the evening or at weekends.

Fuddled Medic said...

And what about members of staff who work at more then one hospital site? Its easy to forget to display a permit and then get an unecessary fine.

A sadder story is that of hospital coffee shops. Now we have costa coffee charging extortionate amounts for a cup of tea, as opposed to the league of friends that charged 40p for a cup

Garth Marenghi said...

Fuddled,

agree on the sad expansion of numerous chains like costa and mcdonalds at the expense of excellent value places like the league of friends

it's very sad that trusts are happy to take the money from these big firms while patients then have to then stump up ridiculous fees for very average stuff,

the league of friends should always be prioritised over the big chains as it provides such a valuable service to so many

Sam said...

I don't agree with you here Garth, some people find it helpful, even theraputic to be able to get a proper cup of coffee and/or a meal they like, even buy some for the patient they are visiting. Nothing wrong with services like that being provided by hospitals lying on huge sites with lots and lots of 'useable' premises to spare. Generates income and lifts the spirits of patient and staff too. As for parking fees, this should be abolished, if again, for the sake of the comfort of everybody using the hospital. If hospitals need to generate extra income, get commerce to operate on unused sites and make lots more money instead of charging frontline staff who's job is to care and heal .. and do it all for well below the average pay nationally too!

Dr Aust said...

Apologies for largely a re-post from the Jobbing Doctor's post on this subject, but seemed germane.... I did say there that:

"Meanwhile, of course, there will no doubt be swingeing parking charges for the poor s*ds who work in the hospitals."

I remember seeing an article about this in the old BMJ Careers bit a few yrs back. The typical charges quoted were comparable to ours at Gloomingham Univ, which are now topping 500 pounds a year. In my case this is more than 1% of my gross salary. The appropriate term, I think, is "payroll tax".

Even better is the line the University gave us when they doubled the charges, overnight, two or three years ago. There were numerous protests to the "Director of Estates", and all got the same reply.

It was, s/he said - wait for it - a key part of their Green Strategy, aimed at getting us to take the bus. I sh*t you not.

It took them a further eighteen months to come up with a scheme to allow you to pay per day parked - you know, something to actually incentivise you not to drive all of the time - and even then the scheme, involving going to an office periodically to buy tickets, was unworkable and expensive per day parked.

Of course, the net result is actually un-green - once I'm coughing up the equivalent of two quid per day on site, you had better believe I am going to drive in (20 min each way) rather than take the effing bus (50 min each way). But the Univ is making a nice return on car-parking off its staff. Kerr-chinng!

And so good for morale.

Garth Marenghi said...

Dr Aust,

it takes the p*ss

hiding behind the green 'defence' and pretending it's being done for the environment is just plain dishonest

these bastards are just introducing another stealth tax to shaft an already demoralised workforce

Julie said...

It may interest you to know that the Victora in Glasgow offered its staff the opportunity of a loan to buy a bike, so that they could cycle to work. If they didn't get killed crossing the Kingston bridge while getting there..

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