Free parking dropped for staff and patients at Taunton hospital

Staff were informed over email the parking charges will resume on August 1. Credit: ITV News West Country

Staff who work at Musgrove Park Hospital have described plans to reinstate parking charges as "outrageous".

Both staff and patients will no longer be able to park for free as operator QPark are bringing back charges from 1 August.

Fees had been waived for four months during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic.

People who have permits will be entitled to free parking next month but will however still be charged for the month of March when the crisis began.

This will be taken when their direct debits resume in September.

Staff at the Taunton hospital have shared their anger on social media.

Many people have commented that it is "disgraceful" to charge critical care staff when the pandemic is still ongoing.

QPark had previously agreed to free parking at both Musgrove Park Hospital and Royal Cornwall hospital for an initial period of three months.

In a statement Somerset NHS Foundation Trust says:

“Car parking has been free for everyone at Musgrove Park Hospital since 25 March. We have taken the difficult decision to reinstate car parking charges for patients and visitors on 1 August and for colleagues from 1 September. 

“At the same time it is important to effectively manage the car parks at Musgrove Park Hospital which are becoming very busy as more patients and colleagues bring cars onto site. Therefore from 1 August only colleagues who have car parking permits will be able to park onsite. 

“Colleagues who have permits to park at Musgrove Park will be charged a higher payment on 1 September. No payment was taken for car parking in March, which happens at the beginning of each new year for permits, and this larger payment covers the outstanding charges for the majority of March when car parking was not provided free of charge. No charges are being recouped from colleagues during the period when car parking was provided free of charge.”

Report by Lucy McDaid