Nuneaton hospital’s chief executive has said staff there have “not all faced the economic hardship of others” during the coronavirus pandemic so there is not a “strong economic argument” to give them free parking.

Glen Burley, CEO of George Eliot Hospital, made the comment in a report to hospital board members after concerns and complaints about why staff have to pay to park at the site.

He said: “I am very conscious of the wider economic impact of Covid-19 with many individuals being furloughed or having lost their jobs and income.

“The families of NHS staff are not immune from this impact, but our staff are very much needed at this time as they are always and hence have not all faced the economic hardship of others.

“I therefore do not feel that there is a strong economic argument, particularly as many of our lower paid staff are not car owners and many walk to work or use public transport.”

Mr Burley also said money for staff parking would have to come out of a “fixed allocation” of money the hospital has been given to cover the costs of Covid-19.

In the report to board members ahead of the meeting, he added: “It is hard to justify a subsidy for car users when we do not have sufficient income to cover the costs of delivering healthcare.”

Free parking was introduced at the hospital for three months in the first lockdown, but charges were reintroduced in line with government guidance on August 1.

Various campaigns by members of the public have called for hospital staff to be given free parking at hospitals across the country.

The hospital board is set to meet to discuss the issue today (December 1).

 Mr Burley adds in the report: “We have agreed our policy with local Union representatives who generally do not object to payment.

“What they do ask is that those who pay are able to park. So one of the other reasons for charging is to control access to our car parks including the many patients and visitors to our sites who have returned now that we are once more running all services pretty much as normal.”

The issue will be debated during the virtual Eliot board meeting later today.

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