To ask the Minister of Health whether his Department intends to make free parking permanent for Health and Social Care staff. AQW 5673/17-22

10 July 2020

Free car parking was provided to HSC staff for the period 1 April 2020 to 30 June 2020 in recognition of the unprecedented nature of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the work and commitment the staff were making to keep the health and social care service going during the initial surge.
As hospital visiting and attendance at outpatient clinics is now increasing, charging for car parking on hospital sites where space is limited is an effective mechanism to encourage turnover to help ensure that spaces are available for patients and visitors. If the policy of charging staff for car parking was to permanently cease, this would not only create accessibility issues for patients and visitors, but the revenue raised to meet the cost of the provision and maintenance of car parking would similarly cease, ultimately reducing the amount of money I would have available to fund patient care.
Whilst the initial free car parking period for staff has now concluded, the position will be kept under review in the context of the evolving position as regards the prevalence and impact of Covid-19.