'It feels like a slap in the face' - Rugby St Cross staff's anger over £50 parking passes

A petition calling for a halt to the price hike has gathered more than 12,000 signatures

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A petition calling on the trust which runs Rugby's St Cross and Coventry hospital to halt a price hike in staff parking costs has gathered more than 12,000 signatures.

NHS staff working at the two hospitals will face a monthly parking cost increase from £43 to £50 should the plan go ahead on April 1.

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And a petition (which can be viewed at bit.ly/3qpTTIa), addressed to CEO of the UHCW trust, has attracted much attention.

Petition creator David Jenkins wrote: "We are all exhausted and broken, we have just worked flat out on the front line of a pandemic and this is how the trust rewards us!

"Please help show us some support in trying to get this decision revoked and sign our petition."

Members of staff at the trust contacted the Advertiser and, speaking on the condition of anonymity, described the price hike as a 'slap in the face'.

One staff member said: "We've all been working really hard through the pandemic and this just feels like a slap in the face to be honest.

"People need to be heard, a lot of us feel like we're being used as cash cows at the moment.

"We don't think we should have to pay to park at our place of work.

"Things are getting worse with fuel costs, energy bills and housing, and I've spoken to a lot of nurses and midwives who are getting more and more stressed about the cost of living.

"When I speak to my colleagues we all say that, if there is no other option, surely £20 or £30 a month would be a lot more fair and manageable than £50?"

The staff member added that they and many of their colleagues feel they are being made to pay extra to foot the bill for a new staff car park which has just opened at Coventry hospital.

We put these concerns to the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust and they promptly responded.

A spokesperson said: “University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust has had to make the difficult decision to reinstate charges at an increased cost of £7 a month – this reflects inflation rises and increased running and maintenance costs since April 2020.

"We regret this necessity and want to make clear all money generated goes directly towards improvements and running costs of our car parks so budgets for patient care do not fund them."

The spokesperson did not directly address the perception among staff that they were being charged more to fund the new car park.

But they did explain that staff parking charges have been £43 since April 2019 and, during the pandemic, staff parking was made free with central government funding.

But this funding has now been withdrawn and the trust said, through contractual obligations contained in their PFI contract, they must now increase the fee, applying all the inflation that would have occurred since 2019.