Essex hospital staff celebrate parking victory

People hold placards protesting against parking charges at Broomfield Hospital

Hospital workers in Essex are celebrating after health bosses promised to keep staff parking free for several more months.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust had wanted to reintroduce staff parking charges — suspended during the pandemic — from 1 August but has now told UNISON it will put the brakes on its plans and give staff a say on charges.

It comes after more than 3,000 staff at the trust, which runs hospitals in Basildon, Chelmsford and Southend, signed a petition against the charges.

Hospital workers argued the plan was effectively a tax on coming to work and would hit particularly hard during a period of rapidly rising inflation.

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Sam Older said: “This is great news for health staff in mid and south Essex. Thousands of them rely on a car to get to work so any new charge is basically a pay cut.

“We’re glad that the trust has put the brakes on its plans, but it’s still leaving the threat of charges hanging over our heads. We hope MSEFT will use this opportunity to commit to keeping parking free for staff.”