Stockport Liberal Democrats are demanding Stepping Hill hospital scrap proposals to triple the cost of staff parking permits. Under the scheme being considered by the hospital, a full time nurse would see the permit price increase from £300 to almost £900 a year.*
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Staff facing this sort of increase would have the choice of either paying what is effectively a flat rate job tax to prop up the NHS or of parking on local streets, which are already heavily congested with staff and visitor parking. In discussing the issue the Hospital has admitted that they do not have enough parking for patients and staff on the site.
Councillor for Stepping Hill ward, Mark Weldon, who is campaigning on parking issues at the hospital, said “It is completely wrong that dedicated doctors and nurses, many on low salaries, are being asked to prop up hospital finances by paying hundreds of pounds more for parking. The Government should be funding Stepping Hill properly, not expecting medical staff to do it instead.”
Councillor Jon Twigge for neighbouring Hazel Grove ward, which also experiences considerable parking congestion from hospital staff and visitors, said: “We only found out about these proposals when a resident tipped me off. Residents are rightly concerned that this will see local streets swamped with cars, especially as the hospital staff work shifts covering 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In the time between the new shift arriving and the previous one finishing, double the parking capacity is needed.
“When I have talked to the hospital about parking problems their answer was that their staff will park wherever they want as long as it is legal, and they seem to want to absolve themselves of any responsibility for managing the problem they are causing on residential streets.”
Stockport Liberal Democrats are calling on the management of Stepping Hill Hospital to scrap the proposed increase in staff parking charges and to engage properly with local residents to find a workable solution to this problem.
* The permit figures have been given to us by a member of hospital staff. When we initially approached the hospital they declined to comment. We have since been contacted by the Stepping Hill Press Office who have told us that a typical nurse pays £200 to park now, and under the new proposals the fee would almost double, rather than tripling.