NURSES at the Weavers Croft mental health unit in Stroud have hit out at the possible introduction of parking charges.

Parking for employees at the 2gether NHS Foundation Trust centre has always been free.

However, this could change after discussions were held about implementing a £5 charge per day.

A mental health nurse who works at the centre contacted the SNJ to criticise the move.

The man, who asked not to be named, said: “An extra £5 a day just for parking is a lot of money when you add it all up.

“I know there have been quite a few recruitment issues at the 2gether Trust as it is and this is going to do nothing to encourage people to stay or join.

“In all the years I have worked here parking has always been free for nurses.

“However, with cuts to the NHS and nurses being forced to work longer hours, morale is at an all-time low.

“Adding the cost of parking to that is going to do nothing to improve the mood.”

Responding to the criticism, a spokesperson for the Trust stressed that a final decision had not yet been made.

He said the review of charges had been prompted by the need to ensure that parking was fair for all its employees.

“We employ 2,400 staff who work from a large number of sites across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire,” he said.

“Some of our colleagues access free parking on the site where they work. Others work at sites owned by other organisations who charge for parking, and others pay to park privately because there are insufficient spaces at their site.

“We have been discussing options to make parking fairer across the Trust, and we circulated a survey late last year so that we could collect staff views to help our review of the options available to us.

“We have also involved union colleagues in our discussions. We are now collating the findings from the work we have been progressing, so that it can be fully taken into account by our board as they consider the various options in the coming months.”

The 2gether NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to the people of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

It is run locally and regulated by NHS improvement, it is not run by central government.