Tayside and Central Scotland

Hospital parking charges suspended

Glasgow Royal Infirmary car park
Image caption Glasgow Royal Infirmary was one of the three hospitals to have a car park that charged for use

Parking charges at three Scottish hospitals will be scrapped for the next three months, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has confirmed.

Ms Freeman told MSPs that charges at Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Edinburgh Royal Infirmary will be waived from Monday.

Charging for parking at other NHS car parks in Scotland was scrapped in 2008.

But the remaining three car parks require users to pay because they are run by private operators.

The charges could not be scrapped due to long-term private finance initiative (PFI) contracts.

There have been widespread calls for the fees to be waived while staff fight the coronavirus.

The move followed discussions with the car park operators and individual health boards.

Announcing the decision, Ms Freeman said: “We cannot have barriers to staff working in the NHS.

"Last week I said I would act, if I could, to remove parking charges from those PFI car parks in our hospital settings.

"So, from Monday 30 March, car parking charges will be removed for the next three months."

Staff at Ninewells currently pay £2.40 per day for parking, with those parking at Edinburgh charged £7.20.

Those parking at Glasgow Royal Infirmary are charged £1.80 per hour.

An online petition calling for the charges to be scrapped at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak collected almost 6,000 signatures.

NHS Tayside confirmed the new arrangements would be in place from Monday.

It said it was finalising how the temporary arrangements would work in practice and would be sharing the detail with staff and the public in the coming days.