A Lothians MSP has called for additional parking at ERI as staff told permit scheme ‘at capacity’

A Lothian MSP has demanded guaranteed parking for frontline workers at the Royal Infirmary, after staff were told permits are already ‘at capacity’ before all applications have been processed.
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Staff permits will be required to park on the site from today in a bid to tackle a crisis which has caused massive delays in recent months for staff, patients and visitors as well as buses and blue light services.

But the scheme has prompted a massive backlash and sparked fears it will drive some to quit their jobs, as the changes could add hours of travel time to their days.

Permits at the Royal Infirmary are 'at capacity'Permits at the Royal Infirmary are 'at capacity'
Permits at the Royal Infirmary are 'at capacity'
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Workers called for the scheme to be postponed because of a backlog in processing applications.

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Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary staff parking permit scheme 'won't be ready' for lau...

But in a memo to staff on Friday it was confirmed that the only available spaces had been allocated – before all applications could even be considered.

Many hospital workers want the whole idea scrapped and have started a petition which had topped 25,000 signatures as of Friday.

One support services worker who signed the petition said the hospital would lose staff.

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He applied for a permit in November but still hasn't heard back. When he called the parking team, he was advised they were ‘weighed down’ with applications and it was going to take them weeks to deal with them all.

The worker added that people are currently driving in from as far afield as Dunfermline or Dunbar and permit-only spaces are not practical, as it will mean commuters are forced to travel to the city centre then bus to the hospital if there isn’t a shuttle bus at the time of their shifts.

"I'm now going to be looking for another job. Other people are saying the same,” said the worker, who works the back-shift.

"If a shift doesn't fall at the right times for the free shuttle bus, they’re going to have to use the park-and-ride and pay for a bus along or get a bus from their home all the way into the centre of Edinburgh and then a bus out to the hospital.

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"They've said people who car share might get a permit - but at the moment you're not allowed to car share because of Covid. "

A doctor based at the ERI said workers feel let down by the Union over the matter, claiming they are ‘sitting on the fence’. Unison said they welcomed the reintroduction of the scheme.

Miles Briggs MSP said having enough parking spaces for frontline workers was “essential”.

“It is clear that there are still major issues with adequate number of parking spaces at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary,” he said.

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“Encouraging NHS Lothian frontline staff to use more local transport simply isn’t an option for many who live far from the hospital and are burnt out from long shifts.

“Having a space to park is essential for NHS frontline staff on shifts, and particularly medics on nightshift.

“There are serious workforce concerns across NHS Scotland which SNP Ministers have failed to address and making employees feel undervalued is not going to help.

“I have written to NHS Lothian to raise concerns again about the lack of suitable parking at Little France.”

NHS Lothian have been contacted for comment.

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