Health Minister announces free parking for HSC staff until March 2021
Health Minister Robin Swann has instructed Trusts to put in place, with immediate effect, the provision of free car parking to HSC staff until 31 March 2021.
Mr Swann said: “As our valued staff enter into a most challenging and pressurised time, I hope that this provides some welcome news.”
The move follows today’s budgetary announcement of additional funding allocated to the Department of Health for free staff car parking until the end of March 2021.
This is the second period of free parking in response to Covid-19. Free parking was put in place for HSC staff in the period 1 April to 30 June 2020.
For staff who pay through their salaries, an adjustment will be made for the free parking period.
Staff who pay at hospital car parking machines can get refunds for the free parking period.
The Department’s current policy on car parking provision and management in the Health and Social Care (HSC) sector for Northern Ireland was published in 2012 and sets the direction for car park management including charging. It is for each Health and Social Care Trust to determine the way that the policy is applied to each of their sites to enable them to take into account local issues.
In 2019/20, almost £8m was raised from car parks with over 100 spaces. The cost of running these car parks was just under £9m. These figures show that the cost of car parking is not being recovered in full.
In March 2020 the Minister secured additional funding to cover a three month period of free car parking for HSC staff during the initial Covid surge. Given the significant pressures the Department is currently facing, free car parking could not be provided again for the winter period without securing additional funding of £3.7m.