NHS staff protested today against “totally unwarranted” proposals to introduce parking charges at the North Walsham and District Memorial Hospital.
Over 1,000 people have already signed a petition online and in person against plans by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, to introduce parking fees at North Walsham.
And today around 40 staff and supporters rallied against the charges.
Staff used their lunch breaks or day off to show their opposition to the proposed charges by holding a protest outside the entrance of the hospital.
Parking fees are essentially an extra tax on work, UNISON says, as North Walsham’s rural location and patchy public transport links mean staff are reliant on their cars to get to the hospital.
UNISON Norfolk Community Health branch secretary Rad Kerrigan said: “Staff at North Walsham have made it clear today that they won’t accept this totally warranted new tax on their earnings.
“Workers here have 24-hour jobs – they can’t do them if they have to rely on north Norfolk’s rural public transport network.
“It’s particularly disappointing that the Trust wants to roll out parking charges while hospitals in other parts of the country are doing away with them.
“Just last month, Milton Keynes University Hospital said it would do away with parking charges to make it a more attractive place to work. What message is Norfolk Community Health sending to its staff by doing the opposite?
“We urge the Trust to think again and scrap the tax on its workers.”