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U-turn over hospital parking charges

Written by: Emma Lunn
Thousands of NHS hospital staff in the West Midlands will receive refunds for car parking charges while at work.

In March 2020, the Department for Health and Social Care informed all health trusts that they would receive immediate financial backing to provide free parking for NHS staff during the pandemic.

But in August, the University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands quietly re-introduced parking charges for staff.

The trust has now reversed its decision following a campaign by Unison on behalf of its 6,000 members working at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and other sites run by the trust.

The union says that some workers could receive as much as £800 in refunded parking charges, with payments backdated to last summer when UHB scrapped the commitment to offer free parking during the pandemic.

Unison said the parking fees were an unfair levy on hardworking staff, who were paying upwards of £100 a month.

Chanel Willis, Unison West Midlands regional organiser, said: “These charges were unfair, inappropriate and essentially a tax on staff who have given their all during the pandemic. UHB shouldn’t have been charging employees for coming to work so everyone else could stay safe. Unison is glad the trust has seen sense and promised to refund the money.

“Hard-pressed staff should have been due a pay rise (this month) and will appreciate the extra cash in their pockets.”

Unison says that UHB has also agreed in principle to suspend further deductions until June, which is when the government is expected to lift all Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

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