“Demoralised” staff at Worksop’s Bassetlaw Hospital have been told to pay £400 a year to park – leaving some workers fearing for their safety.
Bosses have told staff that to park on site they must pay £400 a year for one of the hospital’s new parking permits – or pay the standard rate of £8.50 every day – meaning some workers who cannot afford the fees have to park in “unsafe areas” and walk back to their vehicles in the dark.
And staff lucky enough to find a well-lit space in a residential area have faced complaints from residents upset by the number of cars on their roads.
One nurse, who declined to be named, said: “We are already overworked and underpaid and now this is putting staff at risk, as many cannot afford to pay £400 a year.
“This leaves us vulnerable to walking in dark areas on our own for the sake of Bassetlaw Hospital making money out of its staff.
“We are being used unfairly while trying to provide services for those in need.”
The nurse also claimed there had been “sexual assaults” at new designated parking areas around the hospital site, although this was denied by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, while Nottinghamshire Police said it had received no reports of such incidents.
Trust chiefs have defended the increase in fees, which they say is the first in many years and is necessary to fund the maintenance of the cash-strapped hospital’s car park.
Kirsty Edmondson-Jones, trust director of estates and facilities, said: “Our new rate equates to about £1 per day to park on site, which can be further reduced if staff opt to pay by salary sacrifice.
“We are also currently exploring what discount we can offer to part-time and lower paid staff, reducing the cost even further.
“We have introduced a permit system in order to clearly define who is authorised to park on site, ensuring the maximum amount of spaces are made available for our patients and visitors.
“Income generated is reinvested in the maintenance of the car parks, floodlights and security.”
The increase in fees is also impacting students at the hospital who now have to pay £8.50 a day to park on site.
One student nurse, who declined to be named, said: “It looks like the hospital is trying to pay its debts through staff and students. It’s all a big mess.”