Northern Ireland

Students lose Royal Victoria Hospital parking subsidy

Susan Dornan
Image caption Dental student Susan Dornan set up a Facebook page in protest at the end of the subsidy

Subsidised parking for Queen's University medical students at the Royal Victoria Hospital is to be withdrawn from next week.

Students who have to go to the hospital as part of their course have been able to park at a reduced rate.

Some who were angered by the proposed change set up a Facebook protest group.

The company which runs the car park said the reduction was a convention rather than a policy and had been discontinued for valid reasons.

Dental student Susan Dornan said the daily rate she pays will rise from £1.50 to £4.10.

"We are very, very annoyed. It is unfair. If they need more money, then 20p or 50p perhaps, but don't just take it out on the people who can afford it least."

Andrew Kerr, who is studying medicine, said students had been getting the same discounted rate as staff.

"You just went up to the hatch in the Royal and showed your medical, dental or nursing student card.

"But from February, if you do not have a Belfast Trust card - which students don't have - they are not giving the discount any more.

"We understand about economic cuts and people need to make money somehow, but this is just too much of an increase."

No other hospital in Belfast gives students reduced parking rates.

It is understood CP Services, which runs the Royal car park, is concerned by the length of time patients and visitors are having to queue to get in.

A spokesperson added: "Parking at the Royal is still extremely cheap and a free bus to the site is still available every twenty minutes."