About 3,000 NHS workers at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn are facing swingeing hikes to their car parking charges that threaten to wipe out the proposed NHS pay rise. 

Unite, the country’s largest union, said many staff face a doubling of the charges by April 2020, which is compounded by the knowledge that public transport in rural Norfolk is not an option, especially for those working at nights, weekends and on bank holidays. 

The union called on the board of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust to urgently reconsider the increases at its next board meeting due on Tuesday 29 May. 

Unite, which represents 100,000 health workers, said the King’s Lynn situation was being replicated across England by cash-strapped trusts and that it was wrong NHS staff should be asked to pay for going to work. 

The new charges at King’s Lynn are being introduced this month. For example, staff on pay band 5-7 which includes nurses, speech and language therapists, and pharmacists will now pay £22 a month, up from £15.96. This will rise to £27.50 in April 2019 and £33 in April 2020. 

Unite lead officer for health in East Anglia Mark Robinson said: “Hard-working staff at King’s Lynn are faced with swingeing rises to park their car for work, which is a necessity for many because of poor public transport provision in Norfolk, especially at nights and weekends. 

“These increases will wipe out the gains in the current NHS pay package which will see most staff get a pay rise of 6.5 per cent over the next three years. This offer is currently being balloted on by the health unions. 

“We are calling on the trust board when it next meets on 29 May to urgently reconsider the punitive nature of these parking charges – NHS staff should not be used as milch cows by trust managements under pressure because of a lack of central funding for the NHS by government.  

“Unite is encouraging patients, their families and friends to contact the trust and urge them not to impose these increases.” 

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “What is happening in King’s Lynn is being replicated by financially squeezed trusts across England – our members are being used as an extra income stream for these trusts.  

“We would like a situation where dedicated NHS staff, who don’t earn a fortune, don’t have to pay to park their cars to go to work and look after the sick, the vulnerable and the injured 365 days a year.” 

Notes to editors: 

The trust’s website says: ‘Our catchment area covers the towns of King’s Lynn, Wisbech, Hunstanton, Downham Market and Swaffham, with the remainder of the population in villages and hamlets across an area of more than 750 square miles. The population of this area is approximately 331,000 people’. 

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065. Email: shaun.noble@unitetheunion.org 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.