EXCLUSIVE: Hospital chief promises review of staff parking charge policy after Globe campaign

Wirral Globe - 27 Oct 2017

THE chief executive of Arrowe Park Hospital has agreed to review its policy of charging staff members £10 to park there after a Globe petition backed by almost 10,000 readers.

More than 9,250 people signed the petition, which was handed over to the hospital's chief executive David Allison by Birkenhead MP Frank Field during a meeting this morning.

Nurses who work at the hospital had contacted us in September after security guards had turned them away from on-site staff parking because they did not have a fob.

They also expressed safety concerns over parking in an off-site location during a night shift due to a spate of attacks in the area.

During this morning's meeting, Mr Allison said: "We will formally make sure that the petition is handed over to the trust's board when it meets at the end of the month.

"What we've recognised, and the campaign has highlighted, is that we need to review the best use of the parking we have.

"We will get together with the unions and other representative bodies to review the policy to make sure that we all feel it's being as fair and reasonable, given the various challenges that individuals and the organisation faces.

"I think that's a good thing which has come out of all of this.

"For example, we're also in discussions with bus companies for reduced fares for staff.

"It still means there will still be a degree of constraint and we need to work with our staff on how to be as fair and reasonable as we can.

"We also need to see whether there's anything we can do to remove any of those constraints.

"We also want to make sure that we continue to provide the right level of parking for the public. At the moment, we believe the quantum is about right."

Summing up the current parking situation at Arrowe Park, Mr Allison added "We've got five-and-a-half-thousand employees and 1270 parking spaces for staff and 900 for patients.

"That's the balancing act we have, because we need to make sure we have adequate parking for patients.

"We see about 400,000 a year. We have tried to move away from fixed visiting times in a bid to free up space and have tried to be more flexible.

"The planning process means you have a green policy, based on distance to work, which encourages people to walk to work, take the bus or car share into work.

"There will be staff who absolutely need the car parking space and those who could get in by other ways. The vast majority of staff live local to the hospital so we try to encourage other ways to get to work, such as walking to work.

"At the moment we are limited to the complicated legal constraints of the land, so it is not a matter of just being able to expand on the land.

"One idea would be for a multi-storey car park. But the cost of a 400 space multi-storey car park is in the order of about £11m.

"Frankly, I don't have £11m, if I had £11m, I probably wouldn't be spending it on a multi-storey car park."

Frank Field MP, who has long campaigned against car parking charges being levied on vulnerable patients and their relatives said: "I'm really pleased that the Globe petition has led to a review of the policy.

"I would like to thank my caseworker Ed Beardsley, who raised the issue with me after receiving several emails from nurses.

"The review will have proper staff representation and will have a dual approach."