Members please see below transcript of a letter from NIPSA Assistant Secretary, Maria Morgan to Minister for Health, Mr. Robin Swann MLA.
NIPSA welcomed the decision to remove car parking charges for staff, patients and their families during the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic. This financially helped HSC staff, who stepped up to assist us all at a time when others were told to stay at home. From March 2020, families of HSC workers have seen their jobs change, been furloughed or lost and some are struggling to come to terms with new economic and societal circumstances that Covid has brought.
On that basis, we are concerned and disappointed to hear of your decision to reinstate car parking charges from August 2020. This decision will impact on communities that have been financially impacted by the outworkings of Covid and HSC workers who see this as a dismissal of the hard work and effort that they continue to put in for us all.
It is NIPSA’s view that hospital car parking charges are a stealth tax on the sick and on Health workers who only a few months ago our communities and politicians were applauding. It is NIPSA’s view that as Health Minister, it is not too late for you to lead the way in NI, in line with the current policy in Wales and reinstate free car parking at hospitals.
In particular, this will send a positive message to workers across the HSC that as Health Minister you support the work they do for us all in protecting NI Communities. We look forward to your response.