Furious hospital workers have hit out at Royal Cornwall Hospital’s decision to hike up staff car parking charges.
The decision is set to cost workers hundreds of pounds just to do their jobs.
In a letter leaked to the West Briton, the hospital’s chief executive Lezli Boswell tells staff that parking charges at Treliske will increase in October.
Under the new parking permit charges staff working over 22.5 hours will have to fork out £330 a year to park – up to a fivefold increase for some staff on the previous charge.
Consultants and Trust Board members working similar hours will pay £500 a year for a permit.
Those working 22.5 hours of less will need to pay £260 to park at the hospital car park, run by Q Park, while consultants working similar hours will be charged £390.
The letter urges staff to use the Park and Ride service – the staff concession for which has been scrapped by Cornwall Council.
In the letter Mrs Boswell’s defends the decision by saying the Trust is facing “financial challenges” and that it “can no longer justify spending £40,000 per year (rising to £70,000) to support staff car parking when we need to prioritise clinical services.”
She goes on: “It was not a decision that we took lightly and we recognise that the impact of the increases will be difficult. To that end, we have made sure that our staff car parking charges remain below those of other NHS Trusts in the region, including Plymouth, Exeter and Taunton.
But one RCHT employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said they are disappointed at the news.
Previously they had paid around £60 a year to park in the staff car park.
They said: “Staff are saying that with a pay freeze, our pay is worth 10 per cent less than in 2009.
“That coupled with ever shrinking staffing levels is making healthcare professionals feel devalued and many are looking for alternative employment.
"That means it's going to cost me £446 just to do my job.
"That has resulted in staff morale being at an all-time low and it will ultimately reflect in the standard of care to patients. The Royal Cornwall Hospital's NHS Trust is developing a reputation as an organisation that does not look after or indeed care about its staff."
Another member of staff, who did not wished to be named, said they were previously paying £96 a year - with the increase they will be paying three times as much.
The loss of the subsidy to the Park and Ride Service will mean using public transport to get to work will cost workers £240 a year.
“All they seemed to be interested in doing is getting out of debt and the only people they can punish, sadly, is the staff.
“We are frontline emergency staff providing high care, it’s not nice.
The hospital is considering selling part of its staff car park –called the gravel pit -, which only has planning permission until 2016 to raise £2 million to help the Trust to pay for facilities, equipment and services.