Leader: ERI parking charges shouldn’t rise, they should be scrapped

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Plans to hike parking charges at the royal infirmary are just not fair.

That’s not us saying that. It’s the First Minister this week when asked about our exclusive story revealing the rise.

Then there’s the small matter of a petition which has gathered thousands of signatures in the space of a couple of days.

Consort, which runs the hospital, should need no more encouragement to immediately change its plans for a fee increase.

Penalising hard working and lowly paid nursing staff - some of whom could be hit with a 114 per cent rise - cannot be justified.

Sure bosses may make the point that staff could be using public transport to get to the hospital, but we know that is not always convenient and some will have no other option but to take the car. We should be making life for nursing staff as easy as possible as our health services are put under intense pressure and NHS bosses face huge recruitment problems.

And what about visitors? You can’t choose when you need to visit the hospital. Often it can be a last minute dash to see a loved one or make an appointment. Increasing parking charges at the hospital is wrong. If any changes are to be made, it should be to scrap them altogether.