The fees, which allow workers to park at Epsom and St Helier NHS Trust hospitals for a year, were reimposed on January 26 to reduce queues outside the sites, bosses have said.

But hospital staff, many of whom have been isolating or had Covid, say they’ve seen ‘no perks’ during the pandemic and can’t afford to pay the fee.

One worker said they paid £11 per week for a ‘scratch card’ ticket to display in their car, as well as £25 a year for a permit.

Another told the Mirror: ‘We’re working our socks off, where’s the pat on the back? We’ve had two staff die in the past two weeks. It’s horrific and such a stressful time.

‘There are around 10 people per day dying of Covid. It’s a tough time and I can’t afford to pay these charges.’

The trust said they had to ‘manage demand’ for the car parks


The trust pocketed £3.3 million in car park revenue between April 2019 and March 2020, but a spokesperson said less than 10% of the money was from staff at the hospitals.

They also noted that parking outside the hospitals had been free between March 2020 and January 2021, covering both the first and second national lockdowns.

The charges were then brought back to ‘manage demand’ as car parks had become ‘far too busy’ during the third wave.

The spokesperson said: ‘During the unprecedented times of this pandemic, we have introduced a number of measures to support our amazing staff including free hot meals every day, and a broad range of measures to aid staff health and well-being. We did have free parking in place whenever possible from March to January.

‘Unfortunately, as we began to reinstate outpatient appointments and planned care procedures following the first wave, our car parks became far too busy, and we had no other option but to re-introduce some charges simply to manage demand.

‘Despite offering all staff access to free and discounted parking options nearby, as well as increasing our free park and ride services and introducing additional pick up and drop off spots, the situation had become so difficult that we were causing large tailbacks onto public highways, and finding a space was so challenging that staff were late for work and patients late for long-awaited appointments.’