MORE than 300 people have signed a petition opposing any moves to introduce parking charges at community hospitals.
Unions are circulating a petition over concerns that Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust could introduce parking charges at some of its sites.
Charges were first suggested at hospitals like Headington’s Warneford Hospital last December following concerns about a rise in demand for spaces.
The trust – which has no parking restrictions at its sites – told the Oxford Mail it was consulting staff, but would not give more details about what could be implemented.
A review into parking at the county’s nine community hospitals was sparked after more than 1,000 staff emails raised concerns about a lack of parking spaces.
A total of 629 people work at Abingdon Hospital but it has 114 spaces and 328 staff at Witney Community Hospital share 69 spaces.
Unison spokesman Ian McKendrick said the trust had proposed charges for patients and permits for staff, with fees.
He said there seemed to be widespread opposition to plans to charge staff, patients and visitors to park on hospital sites.
The petition is backed by Unite, the Royal College of Nursing and The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.
He said: “Staff resent being charged to come to work and charges for patients and visitors.”
He added it “flies in the face” of recent moves by the Department of Health to help patients hit by parking charges at general hospitals such as Oxford’s John Radcliffe.
Over the weekend, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced new guidelines for trusts which do charge for parking, urging free parking for some like visitors for “gravely ill” patients and the use of “pay on exit” systems, where visitors pay before leaving the car park.
The trust said it follows the guidlines put forward by Mr Hunt, which include free or cheap parking for relatives of chronically ill patients.
Trust spokesman Alistair Duncan said: “We have put the needs of patients and essential staff at the core of our plans.”
The trust has 43 car parks including at community hospitals in Abingdon, Bicester, Chipping Norton, Didcot, Henley, Wallingford, Wantage, Witney.
It also runs the Oxford City Community Hospital at the John Radcliffe where parking fees apply as the site is run by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust.
- Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
11:20am Monday 28th July 2014
What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.
Our top stories
5:43pm Friday 4th September 2015
A SOLDIER has died at St David's Barracks in Bicester today.
5:33pm Friday 4th September 2015
LOCAL control of health service budgets in Oxfordshire has been included in a £4bn bid to secure major new powers from the Government.
3:46pm Friday 4th September 2015
A DESIGNER clothing firm has today been fined £1.2m for "systematic" health and safety failures that led to a four-year-old boy being crushed by a 7ft mirror.
11:48am Friday 4th September 2015
A woman and her daughter who were missing from Witney have been found safe and well.
11:06am Friday 4th September 2015
A SIGNALLING problem at London Paddington is expected to cause delays of up to half an hour to all trains travelling from Oxfordshire to the capital until midday.
8:30am Friday 4th September 2015
HUNDREDS are expected to attend a demonstration in Oxford this weekend against the UK Government’s stance on refugees.