STAFF at Hampshire Hospitals could have to pay permit fees for parking, as part of new proposals.

The trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, will hold a 'four-week engagement programme' including a survey and face-to-face events, to obtain feedback on how to deal with a lack of parking spaces for staff.

One of the proposals made is for an 'annual application fee for permits' with the potential cost still being discussed.

Hampshire Hospitals will also introduce a digital permit system, to enable the trust to 'review the criteria on which permits are issued' to make parking 'fairer' and 'alleviate concerns'.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital

The criteria for issuing permits will include shift patterns, as well as the distance between home and work.

Under UK Government guidelines, NHS organisations should work to ensure that users can park as 'safely, conveniently, and economically as possible', however charges may be implemented under the discretion of individual trusts, but should be 'reasonable for the area'.

In a letter sent to the Gazette by an employee at Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, concerns were raised about the charge being an 'additional burden' to staff.

The member of staff added: "As if our hospital staff are not under enough stresses and strains as it is due to their working environment, and the bosses and board of the hospital see fit to add this additional burden onto them."

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A spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals said: "Parking for staff across Hampshire Hospitals' sites is an issue with too few spaces available, particularly at peak times.

"To improve how it is administered we are introducing a digital permit system, and this has enabled us to review the criteria on which permits are issued.  

“A working group made up of volunteer staff representatives met regularly to capture and reflect what criteria could change, and these proposals are being put to staff as part of a four-week engagement programme which includes a survey and face-to-face events to obtain feedback.

"One of the proposals is for an annual application fee for permits, the potential cost of this permit is part of the engagement process.

“The long-term intention is to make parking fairer and to alleviate concerns that staff regularly raise about the availability and access of car parking at our sites.”

Previously, staff at the trust have incurred no charge for an annual/monthly parking permit, with all employees able to apply for them free of charge.