McCann calls for legislation to abolish hospital car parking charges
Sinn Féin MLA for West Belfast Fra McCann has called on the Belfast Trust to halt the reintroduction of hospital car parking charges.
Speaking after it emerged that the Belfast Trust have written to hospital workers in the city that parking charges will be reintroduced at the end of the month Mr McCann said:
"Health care workers having to pay hospital car parking charges is essentially a cut to their pay.
"The suspension of parking charges during the pandemic was an important recognition of the pressures put on health workers and their commitment to their work.
"While we are currently moving towards recovery from the COVID-19, healthcare staff will continue to face significant challenges in getting the service back up and running.
"Health care staff have been dealing with huge pressures in the system for years even prior COVID-19 and they should not have to face what are sometimes considerable daily parking charges just to provide vital frontline services to the public.
"Parking charges not only impact our frontline workers, but also place a considerable burden on the most vulnerable such as those with serious health conditions, illnesses and their carers for who frequently attend hospital for their treatments.
"In particular, these charges place an unfair burden on patients and health workers from rural areas who live considerable distances from hospitals and who have very limited, or no option, to use public transport to get their work.
"Hospital car parking charges effectively amount to another health inequality on some in our society.
"Earlier this month I submitted a proposal to the Assembly Bills Office to bring forward legislation to abolish hospital charges right across the north.
"This is an important step forward in supporting our health care workers and protecting our most vulnerable from the unfair financial burden of parking charges."