NHS staff will not have to pay hospital car parking charges during the coronavirus crisis, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said. The announcement came after mounting public pressure, with over 400,000 people signing a Change.org petition for the fees to be scrapped.
Anthony Gallagher, an NHS GP, 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, Anthony says “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."
"Anthony’s campaign shows how people coming together in a crisis can create meaningful change for those on the frontline. The activity we have seen on our platform since the outbreak is unprecedented. We may be isolated from one another but thousands of Brits have been turning to Change.org in the last few days to start petitions and show solidarity in the face of crisis." Kajal Odedra, UK Executive Director of Change.org.
The Government said Health Secretary Matt Hancock would give immediate financial backing for all NHS trusts to provide free car parking to NHS staff for the duration of coronavirus (COVID-19). The Local Government Secretary has also agreed for local councils to offer free car parking to all NHS workers and social care staff during the coronavirus outbreak.