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Home   Ashford   News   Article

William Harvey Hospital staff threaten to quit over rise in car parking costs

13 September 2013
by James Scott

The Kentish Express received calls and emails from various employees at the hospital - following our story last week - who were dismayed at the announcement that staff parking permits would cost up to £500 more from next March.

East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust (EKHUFT) said the permits, which cost £178.61 currently, will cost £292 for the lowest paid staff while the highest paid will have to fork out £675 a year.

Charge nurse Mike Eve, pictured right, who has worked at the hospital for nine years, said: “This represents, for everyone, an increase way beyond the current inflation figure and is in fact, by it’s nature, a pay cut for an already beleaguered staff force who have seen an increase in their annual nurse registration fee, their union subscriptions and like everyone else their overall cost of living, with their only pay increase being that of 1% over the last three years.

“Some staff have expressed concerns that the increase in charges may mean that they have to give up nursing as, for them, it is no longer financially viable.

“Over the last few years staff have had to accept that, whether they like it or not, they have to pay to park.

“I am not sure what more we can do to protest about this as the trust truly have the staff ‘over a barrel’ in this situation and it is probably up to individuals to express their discontent in a way which best suits them.”

Another staff nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We are all fed up with it. I think I’ve got to look for another job if I have to pay £42 a month on top of what I get now, working nights and weekends, and having a lot of responsibility looking after people. I would love my wages to go up by that much but it’s not going to happen.”

A technician, who has worked at the hospital for more than five years and also did not want to be named, said: “I’m looking at an extra £20 a month if it does come about. Potentially if things go on increasing I don’t know if I will be able to continue working or not. It may force me to look at alternative employment.”

She added: “Every day on the news there’s somebody slagging off the NHS. Nobody ever says anything nice about us. No wonder morale is low here.

“Everyone is feeling the same. This will force people out of jobs, I’m sure it will.”

An EKHUFT spokesman said shift worker permits would be available for staff who work 20 hours a week or less, with those workers receiving a 25% discount.

It was added that 665 out of 7,000 employees, across all hospital sites, had taken part in the consultation.

Trust chief executive Stuart Bain said parking had become an issue across the group and the increases were needed to addess long-standing issues.

“We have to accept that the facilities were built for a smaller workforce, that improvements cost money and that we need a new system that treats people more fairly,” he said.

The proposals, which were also intended to encourage more people to use greener methods of travel, will be used to create an extra 750 staff parking spaces and improve facilities.

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