HOSPITAL staff in mid and south Essex are facing pay deductions to cover the cost of new parking charges which have been branded “disgusting” by one furious nurse.

Workers at Southend, Basildon and Broomfield hospitals will automatically have 0.5 per cent of their annual salary taken from them to cover the cost of a parking permit.

Staff will be able to opt out of the scheme but will still need to pay for parking when charges come into effect from August 1, Unison has claimed. 

Hospital bosses have defended the plans, saying they are facing a shortfall due to the loss of Government funding.

A nurse at Southend Hospital, who asked to remain anonymous, said; “I think it’s disgusting.

“Deduction from salary, whether you park or not is unfair and amounts to a pay cut.

“There is no guarantee of a space and if you live outside Southend with rising fuel costs and no pay rise, people will be worse off and less likely to want to work there.”

Parking charges for NHS staff were halted during the pandemic to help frontline doctors and nurses.

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Unison has started a petition against the charges and permit scheme being proposed.

The union said it would cost the lowest paid health staff around £100 a year, £130 for a newly qualified nurse and around £230 for more senior medical staff.

Sam Older, Unison Eastern regional organiser, said: “With the cost of petrol, food and energy all going through the roof and a government committed to keeping NHS wages down, the last thing health workers need is a new charge on coming to work.

“MSEFT is already struggling to recruit and retain staff, with slightly higher wages available inside the M25 and survey after survey showing how fed up the workforce is.

“Taking more than £100 out of their pay is no way to improve things.

“The trust should slam the brakes on these proposals.

“It’s not right to charge healthcare staff for coming to work.”

Defending the controversial scheme, a spokesman for the Mid and South Essex Trust said: “The government withdrew financial support for NHS staff parking on April 1.

“We have been covering this cost since then, but unfortunately that is not sustainable as it impacts the funding available for patient care.

“Therefore we will have to re-introduce charges in the coming months.

“We will be working closely with staff, and our union colleagues, to discuss how we can do this as fairly as possible.”