Coronavirus: Parking charges suspended for all NHS staff, volunteers and care workers

25 March 2020, 20:53

File photo: NHS staff will not have to pay for parking while tackling the pandemic
File photo: NHS staff will not have to pay for parking while tackling the pandemic. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The government will cover the cost of parking for all NHS staff, volunteers and social workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Local Government Association (LGA) and the government have agreed to a scheme of free staff parking for the "duration of Covid-19".

Charges for parking at NHS hospitals, as well as on-street parking, will be covered by the Department of Health.

This includes council-run car parks as well as pay and display.

It comes as more than 400,000 people have volunteered to help the NHS tackle coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time.

“So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.

“My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS Trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other Trusts to do the same with our backing.”

Local councils are also being urged to waive all fines received by health and social care workers while carrying out duties.

Chairman of the Local Government Association, Councillor James Jamieson, said: "Already, many councils have suspended parking charges in council-run car parks and for on-street parking and have waivered all fines on appeal for critical workers.

“Councils agree and have worked with government to develop this scheme that now means no health worker, social care worker or anyone volunteering for the NHS, should have to pay parking charges as they tackle the coronavirus and support communities.

“These critical workers are all doing vital and highly-valued work to support the most vulnerable in our society and councils want to do all they can to support them.”

Local arrangements are being set up so NHS workers, volunteers and care workers can provide a display on their windscreen to exempt them from tickets.

The National Car Parking Group also confirmed it will provide NHS staff free parking at all 150 of their car parks across England.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said: “Our NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unprecedented global health threat, which will be a major challenge for health services across the world, and we have listened to what they have told us would make their lives easier.

“Free parking will make a big difference for hundreds of thousands of frontline staff, but this is just the start, and we will setting out further support offers over the coming days and weeks, to ensure the NHS looks after those who look after all of us.”