Lincolnshire NHS bosses want hospital staff to pay £1 a day to park at work
Hospital staff will be forced to pay to park at work because NHS bosses want to save cash.
All staff, including doctors and nurses, could be charged up to £20 a month to park at sites in Lincoln, Louth, Boston and Grantham.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust hopes the charges will cover the £600,000-a-year cost of running the car parks. It says the money will be reinvested in patient care.
But staff say that in tough times, it is like having their pay cut.
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One worker who asked not be named, said: "Everyone is already struggling enough with the level of pay they are on.
"This charge essentially means that any minor pay rise we might get is immediately take away by parking charges. It's like getting a pay cut in a back-handed way."
Another added: "I cannot believe that ULHT can stoop so low as to charge their staff to park on site. I believe that this charge is absolutely disgusting."
It is estimated the charges will see the trust earn between £751,000 and £755,000 a year, covering the £600,000 it currently uses from its patient care budget to pay for parking – including £300,000 in business rates, charges for CCTV, lighting, barriers and security staff.
The additional income will go towards other travel schemes.
But the trust will spend £1.3 million from its capital funds – money ring-fenced for one-off projects – on setting up the new parking system.
Mike Speakman, director of facilities at ULHT, said: "It costs us about £600,000 across all four sites to run car parks for staff.
"We cannot justify this cost or allow it to continue when that money is needed for patient care.
"We have to introduce charges and it's only fair that those who use cars will pay proportionately for parking."
"We are the only acute trust in England which currently does not charge staff for parking."
Staff have been asked to choose between three price plans, with the amount they pay determined by their salary.
The choices are a day rate ranging from 50p to £1 a day; a monthly rate which would range from £5 to £20; or a flat rate based on the number of hours you work with charges between £3.50 and £15 a month.
"It's important that staff realise this is not about us making money; all money recovered will go towards maintenance of car parking services, with any surplus being put into travel services for other staff.
"We are looking at options including introducing a park and ride somewhere off site, improving bike riding facilities and talking with bus companies to see if timetables can be more attractive and the possibility of a travel card for NHS staff."
The charges are expected to be introduced by February or March next year and prices will be fixed for three years.
The staff consultation ended last week and a decision on which options are to be put forward will be made in the new year.