FREE parking at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust will be extended to patients and visitors until the end of June, health bosses have confirmed.
The trust has followed up its decision to extend free parking for its hard-working staff until at least the summer with a boost for those visiting or going into hospital at sites such as the Worcestershire Royal and Redditch’s Alexandra Hospital.
Trust chiefs have rejected Health Secretary Sajid Javid’s decision to scrap the perk from today (Friday) introduced during the pandemic for those on the frontline and said free parking would remain at least the end of June ahead of a review of its parking policy.
Free parking for NHS staff was introduced on March 25 2020, two days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed the first national lockdown. Patients and visitors have enjoyed free parking at the county’s hospitals since the peak of the pandemic.
Local councils also followed suit as the Government said NHS and social care staff should be able to carry out their vital work without worrying about paying for car parking.
The trust’s decision will cover all of the hospital sites it runs, meaning county NHS staff, patients and visitors will not have to worry about fees until at least the summer.
“We informed our staff back in February that free parking for staff across all our hospital sites will be extended until at least the end of June while we review our staff parking policy,” a spokesman said.
“We’re also extending that to patients and visitors.”
The trust’s move comes as Mr Javid’s decision was labelled a ‘slap in the face’ by Dr Hillary Jones and a ‘sick joke’ by members of the GMB union
While the lifeline to those on the frontline in the fight against Covid would end, the Health Secretary said many NHS trusts had chosen to implement free parking for those in ‘greatest need’. This includes front line staff who are working night shifts.
“On behalf of the Government, 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,” Mr Javid said.