FREE parking for NHS staff working at Basingstoke and Andover hospitals is set to continue “until further notice” bosses have confirmed.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT), which runs the two hospitals, told the Gazette that plans to implement charges for staff under its Parking Implementation Plan are still on hold.

The news comes as there has been confusion nationally over whether free hospital parking for NHS staff in England is to end, after it was introduced during the pandemic.

The i newspaper reported that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said free parking would continue only for “key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances”.

However, Nicky Morgan, a former cabinet minister, rejected the idea and claimed no decision had been made.

HHFT previously told the Gazette that parking charges for NHS staff could be scrapped altogether.

Chief executive Alex Whitfield said the pandemic had led to some positive changes which might be adopted permanently, including virtual appointments, which could lead to a reduction in visitors and staff to its hospitals, therefore resolving the parking problems.

However, when asked about the situation now, HHFT said: “There has been no national guidance passed down as of yet”, suggesting it may re-introduce staff parking charges again in line with national policy.

A petition on has been signed by more than 14,000 people calling for NHS staff to continue to have free parking.

It states: “NHS staff should not have to pay to park outside the hospital they work in, they should not be a cash cow for private parking firms.”

It adds: “During the Covid-19 pandemic we’ve been clapping these people, now let’s actually help them.”