West Sussex NHS staff question first parking fees increase in a decade
A green travel plan being brought in by the NHS trust that runs Worthing and Southlands hospitals will see staff parking permit prices increase for the first time in ten years.
The scheme will include new park-and-ride services to and from Brooklands Park, in East Worthing, and Fontwell Park, outside Chichester, as well as investment in improved facilities for walkers, cyclists and motorcyclists such as CCTV, lockers and showers.
Additionally, Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which also runs St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester, is joining the easitNETWORK, providing staff with 15 per cent off rail travel and discounted bus fares. Some staff have opposed the move, with more than 1,300 people signing a petition that said it would ‘force’ them to use the park-and-ride and, in some cases, travel further every day.
It also referenced the recent pay deal – which could see NHS staff wages rise by 6.5 per cent over the next three years – as not being adequate.
The trust said increases in parking permit fees will be calculated by pay band, with higher earners seeing greater increases. A band-five employee, who would earn between £22,128 and £28,746, will pay £27 a month for parking – a 54 per cent increase from the current £17.50.
Director of estates and facilities David Jones said: “There are nearly 10,000 people working in our three hospitals and our staff car parks have been over-subscribed for many years, meaning the large majority of staff have to park off-site or travel to work by other means.
“As our trust continues to grow and the roads around our hospitals become more congested and polluted by traffic generally, we all need to take action to reduce the impact travel to and from work has on the environment.”
Mr Jones said the new fees remained competitive compared to nearby car parks and neighbouring trusts, ranging from 75p to £3 a day, depending on earnings, with most permits set to cost less than £1.50 per day.
Part-time staff working fewer than 30 hours per week will receive a 30 per cent discount on permits. An update to the petition said its organiser had a meeting with the trust on Monday to ‘discuss our grievance and organise a meeting with the trust responsible for the new parking plans’.