Government funds free parking for NHS staff during coronavirus outbreak

West Suffolk Hospital has announced the changes. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

West Suffolk Hospital has announced the changes. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

The government has given funding to all NHS trusts to provide free parking for hopsital workers and social care staff during the coronvirus pademic.

The announcement comes as an online petition reached more than 400,000 signatures, calling on the government to lift car parking charges and fines for hospital staff who are battling the coronavirus outbreak.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time.

“So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.

“My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS Trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other Trusts to do the same with our backing.

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“We will do what is needed to protect the NHS, support our health and care staff, and save lives as we tackle COVID-19.”

Dr Steve Dunn, CEO for West Suffolk Hospital, had already made the changes to scrap parking charges prior to the government’s pledge.

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On Tuesday, March 24, he tweeted that he was scrapping the payments to help his staff at this critical time.

He said: “I am pleased to announce free car parking for staff while we are dealing with coronavirus from tomorrow (Wednesday, March 25).

“Least we can do to help staff help our patients and community.”

His announcement came shortly after the hospital sadly confirmed its first death due to coronavirus.

Jane Jay, 75, from Ixworth, died at the Bury St Edmunds hospital on Tuesday, March 24, where she had been hospitalised for seven days.

The grandmother-of-five, who has left behind three children, suffered double pneumonia which was caused by the virus.

More: ‘Loving’ grandmother Jane, 75, named as Suffolk’s first coronavirus victim

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