Doctors and nurses protesting outside Norfolk hospital
Doctors and nurses protested outside a Norfolk hospital in opposition to proposals to charge staff for car parking.
Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) is consulting on introducing a stepped car parking charge for staff, dependent on people's wages, at North Walsham and District War Memorial hospital, which it runs.
There are 112 car parking spaces for staff at the hospital plus an overflow car park.
Unison Norfolk Community Health branch secretary Rad Kerrigan said: "Staff are unhappy with the proposed parking charges at the hospital.
"We had about 40 people protesting outside the entrance to the hospital on Thursday, June 6. Staff have made it clear they won't accept this totally unwarranted new tax on their earnings.
"The demonstration emphasised the strength of feeling among staff and within the community, and a petition against the proposals already has 1,000 signatures on it.
"From a trade unions perspective we do not approve of parking charges at NHS hospitals for either staff or patients."
The union said that parking fees were essentially an extra tax on work.
Mr Kerrigan added: "Workers here have 24-hour jobs - they can't do them if they have to rely on north Norfolk's rural public transport network.
"We urge the trust to think again and scrap the tax on its workers."
Paul Cracknell, deputy chief executive at NCH&C, said: "We have been in consultation with our unions and have agreed that in the interests of fairness to all staff we need to consider charging consistently across the trust because at the moment some sites apply charges and some don't.
"Following consultation with our staff based at North Walsham, we will shortly be implementing a trial period of issuing permits for those working at the site. The trial will help us determine the availability of access to the site by patients, public and staff of all providers. Charging will only apply if deemed suitable after the trial.
"We promote sustainable travel options to our staff for their daily commute and encourage them where possible to leave their car at home."