Tory politician clashes with SNP over parking at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
Edinburgh Southern Conservative candidate has slammed the Scottish Government for failing to find a permanent solution to the long-standing issue of parking at the city’s hospitals.
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On March 30, 2020 car park providers at the Capital’s biggest hospital agreed to remove the £7.20 daily parking charges for staff, visitors and patients for three months.
This temporary policy, introduced during the coronavirus outbreak, has been continually renewed every 12 weeks and providers have agreed to waive fees until March 2021.
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Miles Briggs said parking fees must not be reintroduced after this date and has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health to seek her assurance that charges will be permanently scrapped.
“We have yet to receive any firm assurances that car park fees will be scrapped after the Scottish Parliament election next week,” said Mr Briggs.
“I have written to the Cabinet Secretary for Health to seek assurances that car parking charges will be scrapped.”
Mr Briggs also raised the issue of inadequate parking for staff at the Little France site and has called for additional on-site parking to be built.
Last month the Evening News spoke to doctors and nurses working at the campus who have been forced to park off-site, up to two miles away from the hospital, making them late for work and causing hold-ups in care for seriously sick patients.
Deputy Chief Executive at NHS Lothian Jim Crombie confirmed that he is aware of this problem and confirmed plans to create 250 extra parking spaces by summer.
Mr Briggs said: “SNP Ministers have been aware of issues surrounding parking and the availability of parking at Little France for a long time now, but have failed to act.
“This is a serious issue, which has an impact on NHS Lothian staff and patients who are struggling to get parked at the hospital.
“After 14 years in office the SNP still hasn’t acted to address the parking problems at ERI and St John’s. It’s simply not good enough and patients and NHS staff want to see action.
“NHS Lothian has a long road in their recovery from Covid-19 and that begins with the workforce being able to get to work on time.”
The SNP have branded the Tories stance on hospital parking hypocritical.
An SNP spokesperson said: “The hypocrisy of the Tories on this issue is staggering given it was a Tory government that instigated the PFI deal for the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh which tied hospital car park charges into the contract.
"It was the SNP that scrapped parking charges at NHS owned car parks, and it was the SNP that abolished parking charges during the pandemic.”
The spokesperson also called into question the Conservatives commitment to free NHS parking.
“The SNP manifesto couldn't be clearer, if we are re-elected there will be no charges for any hospital car parks anywhere in Scotland.” said the spokesperson.
“The Tory manifesto on the other hand gives no such commitment to free NHS car parking.”