Free parking for doctors, nurses and other NHS staff has been reinstated at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) thanks to the allocation of additional funding from the Government.
The move, effective immediately, will mean hospital permit holders are entitled to free parking until at least 31 March 2021.
Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, has welcomed the news following months of campaigning in Parliament after free parking introduced during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was scrapped at UHCW in June.
Sultana organised an online petition that received over 2,000 signatures, wrote to the Prime Minister with the support of 42 of her colleagues, and even confronted the Prime Minister on the matter in the House of Commons.
The MP asked Boris Johnson if the Government would “live up to its promise of free parking for NHS staff throughout the pandemic and bring it back in Coventry?”
The Prime Minister promised he would “look into the matter the honourable lady raises and will get back to her soon as I can.”
The calls of thousands in Coventry have now been answered, after UHCW chief executive, Professor Andy Hard, confirmed in a letter that an additional allocation of funding had been made available to the hospital.
While welcoming the news, Sultana furthered her call for free parking to be extended to patients and visitors too, and to be made permanent.
She said, “while I am pleased that Government funding has been allocated to UHCW to reinstate free parking for permit holders, the Government must now live up to its promise and provide funding for free parking for all NHS staff throughout the pandemic.”
“As I have said from the start of the campaign, free parking should not just be brought back for the pandemic, but should be made permanent.
“It’s an unfair double tax on NHS staff, just as it is an unfair tax on patients getting ill and on visitors seeing their loved ones. So I will keep calling on the Government to follow the lead of the Welsh government, where parking is free for all NHS staff, patients and visitors.”
NHS staff are also entitled to a 10 per cent discount on annual bus passes from National Express Coventry and can take part in a cycle-to-work scheme with the opportunity to loan a bike.