NHS staff in Scotland should be refunded the cost of parking at hospitals, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
As it stands, three major hospitals north of the border still charge workers for parking there, despite SNP government pledges to make hospital parking free.
Workers at the PFI hospitals in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee can face parking fees of hundreds of pounds per year.
Nurses at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary recently launched a petition against the £20-a-day charges being levelled at them just for the privilege of parking at their work.
Shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said the estimated the cost of this scheme would be at most £2.7 million a year, and that the Scottish Government should launch a feasibility study into the idea.
With hundreds of millions in extra health spending coming north in Barnett Consequentials, he added this would be possible without making cutbacks elsewhere in the health service.
And he said any future Scottish Conservative government would launch a more widespread review of parking across all hospitals for staff, patients and visitors.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“This would be the kind of gesture that would be affordable thanks to Barnett Consequentials, and show NHS staff that they are valued by government and the taxpayer.
“It would also make a practical improvement to the working lives of NHS staff, many of whom work long and awkward hours at these hospitals.
“The SNP government previously pledged to make parking free at hospitals across the country.
“Just because PFI deals exist at three major hospitals doesn’t mean ministers can’t do something to make up the costs.
“We need to see action to end the unfair costs NHS staff in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee face.
“We also want to see a national review of hospital parking more generally, something SNP ministers have rejected but is needed if the experience of workers, patients and visitors is anything to go by.”
Notes to editors:
A feasibility study would be needed to work out the exact cost of this measure, but the Scottish Conservatives estimate it would at most be in the region of £2.7 million per year.
This is based on the following available information:
At NHS Tayside’s Ninewells Hospital, there are 496 dedicated staff parking spaces, with permits costing £408 per year. Refunding that would cost £202,000 per year.
At NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Glasgow Royal Infirmary, there are 941 spaces for staff. The standard rate for parking there is £105 month, which would equate to £1.13 million per year.
At NHS Lothian’s Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, there are 1127 dedicated staff parking spaces. The most expensive permit costs £255 a year, which would work out at £1.38 million per year.
That brings an upper estimate for annual costs to £2.7 million per year.