Coventry MP launches petition to keep free parking for NHS staff at University Hospital

Zarah Sultana is calling on the Government to follow Scotland and Wales in making hospital parking free for NHS staff.

Zarah Sultana MP posing at Palace of Westminster

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, this week launched a petition calling on the Government to keep free parking for NHS staff at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire.

The move came following the Government’s announcement that free hospital parking for NHS staff would be scrapped in England.

Though NHS dentists and doctors are set to receive a 2.8% pay rise, backdated to April 2020, the MP says this does not go far enough in thanking our healthcare workers.

Ms Sultana’s petition notes that “this is no way to thank our incredible NHS staff for their selfless work through this pandemic”, that parking charges cost “as much as £500 a year” for some NHS staff at University Hospital Coventry, and that this is “on top of a decade of falling pay for many NHS workers and the frequent wrongful issuing of parking fines at the hospital car parks.”

The petition concludes: “In Scotland and Wales, parking at NHS hospitals is free for staff, patients and visitors. It should be free in Coventry too.”

The Government’s plan to scrap free parking for NHS staff has been found to be widely unpopular, with polling showing that 60% of people oppose it, according to Unite The Union.

Even one senior Conservative MP described parking charges as “unjust”.

Ms Sultana has previously called for hospital parking charges to be scrapped in Parliament and last week put down a motion making the demand.

The motion has now been signed by 30 cross-party MPs, including former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

Following the launch of the petition, Ms Sultana said: “After everything they’ve done for us during this pandemic, our incredible NHS staff deserve extra support, but instead the Government is taking it away. 

“I’ve launched this petition to tell the Government that this grossly unfair decision should be reversed. In Scotland and Wales, hospital parking is free for staff, patients and visitors. It should be here in Coventry as well.”

To read or sign the petition, visit zarahsultanamp.typeform.com/to/JlzRV7qJ.