Lincolnshire

NHS staff paid over £800k to park at Lincolnshire hospitals

New figures, branded a “scandal” by unions, revealed how NHS staff in Lincolnshire paid over £800,000 last year for hospital parking.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust (ULHT) made £845,703 from charges and penalty fees by NHS staff using parking across its sites.

That was in addition to the £1.785 million made from visitor and patient parking across Lincolnshire.

Across all of the NHS Trusts in England, nearly £70 million was made from staff parking charges alone.

In total, NHS trusts collected £226 million from parking for the financial year 2017 to 2018, which is far higher than the 2016 to 2017 number when they collected £174 million.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

When Lincolnshire Reporter contacted ULHT for a response, they insisted that no profit is made from parking fees.

Paul Boocock, director of estates and facilities, said: “The trust does not make a profit from charging staff or patients to park their cars.

“The income from car parks covers the cost of providing the facilities at our hospitals, including maintenance and security.

“We endeavour to keep our charges as low as possible, but we cannot reasonably use money intended for patient care to maintain car parks.”

The new report, released by NHS Digital, has been branded a “scandal” and a ‘hidden tax’ by the Unite Union, which represents hospital staff.

Lincoln County Hospital. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Sarah Carpenter is the national officer for health at Unite and said: “It is a scandal that NHS trusts in England have pocketed nearly £70 million from staff parking charges in the year 2017 to 2018.

“It is basically ‘a tax on going to work’ that hard-pressed NHS employees are forced to pay.

“Such a large figure will take a big 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.

“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.”

Staff car parking charges were increased in Lincolnshire last year.