A petition has been started calling on local hospitals in the county to scrap car parking charges – a measure that would bring English hospitals in line with Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland where hospital parking is free.
The North Norfolk Labour Party successfully launched the petition on the doorsteps around North Walsham area earlier this month when the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital announced increased parking charges.
It was well-received by residents and now an internet petition has been created for others to sign online at www.endthefees.co.uk
The local party argues that the parking fees are a tax on sickness and a tax on families and carers, and penalise the poorest the most. Parking charges at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital go to private firms rather than being reinvested in the NHS, and the party believes the fees are incompatible with an NHS which is free at the point of need.
David Spencer, who has been petitioning residents in North Walsham, said:
“Going to hospital is stressful at the best of times. But being forced to pay for treatment or to visit your loved ones through parking charges makes it worse. Parking fees are a tax on sickness and a tax on families and carers. We call on the Norfolk & Norwich hospital to scrap their plans for a hike in parking charges. And we urge the Government and NHS England to follow the example of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to scrap parking charges completely across the country. Let’s scrap this tax on sickness and ensure we have a NHS that is free at the point of need.”
To sign the petition online visit www.endthefees.co.uk
The local Labour Party will be campaigning on the NHS and against car parking charges at local hospitals on Saturday morning (26 November) in North Walsham Market Place from 10.00am.