There is currently a petition to raise signatures to stop Runnymede Borough Council from taking back control of the staff car parks at St. Peter’s Hospital; whatever you do don’t sign it.
Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals have a history of hiking car parking charges to unreasonable levels. It also has a long history of selling off precious land at its sites which could have been used for parking or for new buildings rather than for supermarkets and private flats.
Last summer, it took an unprecedented protest by local activists, disability campaigners and patients to stop them introducing charges for disabled Blue Badge holders.
Shortly after the Health Secretary introduced guidelines to prevent Hospital Trusts from charging ‘unreasonable’ amounts for parking.
Since then; there’s been no sign of any change.
This recent ‘Get Surrey’ article needs some explanation.
There are two car parks used exclusively by staff and which for many years have been rented to St. Peter’s for £10 a year which reflected the goodwill the local community had for ‘our’ hospitals.
Since then the Trust has hiked the charges to a ridiculous level.
What has the council done? It’s taking back the car parks under it’s own control and will be charging it’s own rates which will be considerably less than the hospital’s charges.
So the community gets the money, the patients and staff pay less and there are no fewer spaces than before.
Oh, and a clear message has been sent to the trust that enough is enough.
So, whatever you do don’t sign!
Hospital workers unable to use staff car park as council hikes rental cost - Get Surrey
By Georgina Townshend
Runnymede Borough Council has increased the rent for land used as a St Peter’s Hospital staff car park from £10 a year to £140,000
Workers at St Peter’s Hospital have been told to leave staff car parks after Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) hiked the cost of renting the land.
There are around 200 spaces for staff at the Chertsey hospital, with the trust leasing the land for just £10 a year. The agreement expired in June 2013 and has not been extended, with a hospital source suggesting RBC is asking for £140,000.
The hospital has been given three months to leave the land and the car parks will be used for public parking – anticipated to be available next year.
St Peter’s chief executive Suzanne Rankin said: “We are very disappointed not to have found a mutually agreeable solution but, as a hospital trust, we simply cannot afford a significant rise in rent for this space.
“Losing this will create significant impact on staff parking and we have done everything possible to try and negotiate an affordable agreement. We will now have to re-provide parking elsewhere, at a considerable – one-off – cost.
The chief executive said the replacement car parks identified are ‘at the bottom of a steep hill and are better suited for staff parking as they are further away from the hospital, allowing us to prioritise closer spaces for patients and visitors, away from the busy main road.’
A source, who wished to remain anonymous, described the parking areas as little more than ‘woodland’ and believes the figure asked for by the council was around £140,000.
Neither RBC nor St Peter’s would be drawn on the exact figures but the hospital did confirm it was ‘extremely high’.
The council has decided to make a new public pay-and-display car park available with the charging regime the same as its town centre car parks – a lower rate than the hospital public car parks.
An RBC spokesman said: “The council is conscious of NHS advice public car parking charges at hospitals should be reasonable. Hospital staff can continue to park in these car parks subject to parking charges.”
Ms Rankin added, car parking is always an ‘emotive issue’ for hospitals. She said: “There are certain times of the day when we simply don’t have enough parking spaces, particularly for staff.
"At a time when hospitals are under unprecedented pressure – felt by patients and staff – one of my main aims is to support staff in their working life and maintain their resilience as we know this drives quality of care.
“I regularly receive emails from staff unable to find a space and I am concerned they will find this the last straw and consider working elsewhere.
“We already experience significant difficulty recruiting clinical staff and anything which makes the trust a less attractive place to work is a serious concern in terms of the impact on the care we provide for local people.”
(a don’t stop till you drop production)
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