Parking fees to be scrapped for Shropshire hospital staff from April 1
The trust running Shropshire's two main hospitals has confirmed parking will be free at its sites for NHS staff from next week, until the coronavirus crisis is over.
Staff will not have to pay the charges at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital in Telford from Wednesday, according to The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust which runs the sites.
Meanwhile, The Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital (RJAH), near Oswestry, has already suspended parking charges for staff.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged hospital trusts to get rid of all hospital parking charges for staff during the pandemic.
There had been mounting public pressure, with more than 400,000 people signing a Change.org petition for the fees to be scrapped.
RJAH announced on social media on Saturday that it had already taken the measure.
It posted on Twitter: "We know and appreciate how hard our staff are working right now.
"We want to give back however we can - one measure we are delighted to announce today is that we are suspending staff car parking charges until further notice."
Anthony Gallagher, an NHS GP, had set up the petition as a way of thanking NHS staff for their ‘‘bravery to step up in our nation's hour of need."
Responding to the news, he said: “I am in no doubt that the Government did not begin this week intending to cover all parking charges for NHS staff.
"This is a massive success, thanks to all the hundreds of thousands of people who signed my change.org petition.
"I hope after this nightmare has passed, that the Government will still notice how NHS workers go above and beyond every day.
"It would not be reasonable, at that time, to give them all a pay-cut and reinstate parking charges.
"I am optimistic that the Government will do what is right and scrap these parking charges permanently."
The Government said it would give immediate financial backing for all NHS trusts to provide free car parking to NHS staff for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
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