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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 November 2007, 20:18 GMT
Hospital car park charges delayed
Parking sign
Staff and visitors can be charged up to 7 for parking
The next phase of a controversial decision to introduce car parking charges at hospitals has been delayed by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

The policy has been described as a "tax" by politicians and protestors.

The health board said charges of up to 7 on staff and visitors would not now be introduced at Stobhill and Southern General Hospitals this weekend.

But it stressed it was still committed to the "full implementation" of the policy in the future.

A statement released by NHS Greater Glasgow conceded there had been "a number of parliamentary and public concerns about the timing of the roll out of the next phase of our car parking policy."

This decision does not affect our commitment to full implementation of the policy
NHS Greater Glasgow statement

The statement said the second phase of the roll-out had been due to take place just days before the publication of the review of hospital car parking which had been ordered by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon in September.

There were also some aspects of the health authority's green transport policy not yet in place, the statement said.

It added: "In the light of these concerns - and following discussion with the cabinet secretary for health and wellbeing - we have decided to temporarily delay the extension of the policy which was due to occur this weekend on the Stobhill and Southern General sites.

"This decision does not affect our commitment to full implementation of the policy."

The health authority said the policy's primary purpose was to ensure that patients and disabled drivers were able to park on its hospital sites, and claimed it was "working very well" on the sites where it had already been introduced.

Strike action

Unison regional officer Matt McLaughlin said: "The delay in applying these unfair charges to Stobhill and the Southern General is a welcome step in the right direction.

"Of course it doesn't resolve the issue at the existing hospitals where these charges are still in force.

"We hope that this means that NHS GG&C will now open talks on the problems that the charges are causing staff."

West of Scotland MSP Stuart McMillan also welcomed the health board's decision.

He added: "With a review into car parking charges under way Glasgow and Clyde Health Board could have avoided this climb down.

"As an MSP who has also raised the unfairness of car parking charges in Inverclyde I think Glasgow and Clyde Health Board should realise the depth of feeling this issue raises."

Ms Sturgeon set up the car parking review after the Unison union said it would ballot NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde staff on strike action over the charges.



SEE ALSO
Sturgeon hears parking concerns
10 Oct 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Review of hospital parking fees
14 Sep 07 |  Scotland
Strike ballot on hospital parking
12 Sep 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Hospitals to charge for parking
08 Feb 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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