"Not the way to reward the NHS staff" — Chichester residents 'disgusted' by return of NHS parking charges

Observer readers have told of their disgust at the return of parking charges at St Richard's Hospital next year.

The return of parking costs and a new 'parking permit scheme' has been met with 'disgust' by readers of this newspaper and hospital staff have got in touch to express their dismay at the scheme.

One member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, described the situation as 'unfair' and said they had been advised to drive to Fontwell and get the bus in, despite living in Chichester.

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Staff parking charges to return at these Sussex hospitalsTaking to social media to discuss the plans, Tracy Austin said: "Not the way to reward the NHS staff."

St Richard's Hospital, Chicehster

"Absolutely disgusting," said Karen Baker, "Parking should be free for all hospital staff."

Susan Prior called it 'disgusting' adding: "Clap for them on Thursday, make them pay on Friday to go to work and give us a better life. We should be ashamed of this decision."

Helen Gardner said: "Disgusting after all they have to go through and what they’ve done for us all. They’re punished enough with a low wage."

Peter Elkin "After all the NHS staff have done for the country during the pandemic and your charging them to go to work — disgraceful and no respect!"

Barbara Stewart-Newell took a different view and said she thinks 'NHS staff get enough': "If they get free parking so should everyone else. First should be all people on minimum wage. Most NHS staff earn more than that.

"But not all people that work in hospitals are NHS staff, a lot of them work for agencies (cleaning and maintenance and catering) they don't get any freebies as not NHS."

David McLaughlin, director of facilities and estates, University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Following the end of the Government's free parking scheme for NHS staff, which ended in September 2021, we took the decision to extend this until 31 March 2022 for all our staff.

"During this time, we also invested in hundreds of new parking spaces to help ease parking pressures of our staff. We are now developing our new Trust's aligned staff car parking permit scheme.

"Under the new scheme, we aim to provide as much on-site car parking as possible for staff who need to park very close to our hospitals, taking into account personal circumstances, how far away staff live, what they do and where they do it.

"We also aim to provide free parking for all our lower paid staff."