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Date: Fri 18 Jan 2008

Hospital car parking charge guidance step forward - UNISON comment

UNISON, Scotland's health care union, today gave a cautious welcome to the Government guidelines on hospital car parking charges issued today to health boards.

The union particularly welcomed the instruction to the NHS to operate a presumption against charging, and pledged to raise the issue with NHS boards where charging has been introduced at an early stage. However the union said they were disappointed that the maximum charge outlined by the Cabinet secretary was too high, and that they were particularly angry that PFI contracts were not yet covered by this guidance.

Tom Waterson, Chair of UNISON's Scottish Health Group said, "This guidance deserves two-cheers. It is welcome that the Cabinet Secretary has recognised the need to cut the car parking charges that have become a tax on the sick in too many hospitals in Scotland. We will be using it to set out to these boards the procedures they now need to adopt to reduce and eliminate punitive charges. Even £3 per day, is a significant amount, if you are low-paid or have to visit a hospital regularly."

"It is also welcome that directly-run and commercially run car parks are covered, but we see no reason why PFI hospitals should be exempt and will be urging the Government to bring them under the same controls as soon as possible. Private companies should not be profiteering from staff going to work and relatives visiting patients"


For Further Information Please Contact: Tom Waterson (Chair UNISONScotland Health Group) 07753 627 575(m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)