Free parking for NHS staff working in hospitals in England ended nationally today, Friday, April 1, Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced, but Sheffield Teaching Hospitals said it would keep the arrangement in place for another month and freeze prices at 2020 levels.
Parking fees were waived during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Javid said: "Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also come to an end on 31 March.
"However, over 93 per cent of NHS trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including NHS staff working overnight."
"I would like to record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to keep people safe over the last two years and whose efforts have enabled us to move to the next stage of the Covid-19 response."
Northern General Hospital
Kirsten Major, chief executive of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Northern General, Hallamshire, Weston Park and Jessop Wing hospitals, said: “We appreciate that the Government’s decision to end free parking on Friday is not welcome news for our staff from both a cost and convenience perspective.
"Only having two days’ notice of the change is also unhelpful because our staff have not had time to make alternative arrangements or to budget for the additional cost. The past two years have been very difficult for our staff and we know the ability to park for free has been appreciated but we are obliged to action the Government’s decision.
"To help staff with the transition, we have decided not to make the change until May 1 rather than April 1 and we are freezing staff car parking charges at the rate they were two years ago for the rest of this year despite costs and inflation increasing.”
Staff heading home near the Hallamshire Hospital, on Glossop Road, said workers would be disappointed at the end of the free parking.
All asked not to be named.
One said: “I come in and park occasionally, but I come on a bus when it’s nearly £9 to park. While it has been free parking, you’ve had to be here before 7am to get a space.
"There are some who come a long way, and have seen fuel rising, so as far as free parking is concerned, every little helps.”
Another thought parking for NHS staff across the country was atrocious and expensive.
"There are so few places that people come in at 7am when they don’t start until 9am,” she said. “It is a shame the Government is finishing it."
Another thought because it has been free parking, some have brought cars to work even though they live close by, making it harder to get places, some as early as 6am.
GMB union national officer, Rachel Harrison, said charging NHS staff who've risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work was a sick joke.
She said: "After the years of Tory cuts NHS trusts are struggling, we know.
"But scrabbling the money back off hard up workers is not the answer.
"The Government must now legislate for free hospital staff parking once and for all."