Gloucestershire hospital staff billed for old permits

A union has criticised a hospital trust for asking hundreds of workers to pay for parking permits that they were not initially charged for.

The NHS trust which runs hospitals in Gloucester and Cheltenham said in 2010/11 it failed to collect about £80,000 in permit payments.

It has written to 572 workers asking them to agree to a repayment plan.

A Royal College of Nursing spokeswoman said the blunder showed the trust's "financial mismanagement is acute".

"This is another example of this trust getting it wrong and then damaging relations with their most valuable asset, their staff," said Jeannett Martin, Regional Director for the Royal College of Nursing, South West region.

"It is amazing that Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust simply didn't notice this loss of £80,000 from car parking payments. This is very poor financial management.

'Unexpected cost'

"I'm concerned staff in the coming year will be asked to pay double - what they owe through no fault of their own and next year's payment - when they are struggling anyway with the financial situation."

The amount each member of staff is charged for a parking permit depends on their income.

Those who earn up to £15,000 a year pay £35 per year for a parking permit. Members of staff who earn over £75,000 pay £190 per year for a permit.

Payment of the permit is spread across 12 months and each monthly payment is deducted from their wages.

The trust has written off £30,738 from those members of staff who owed less than £40.

Ian Tait, director of estates and facilities at the trust, said: "We understand that this will be an unexpected cost for the members of staff affected and have apologised to each individual for the inconvenience it will inevitably cause.

"The decision to recoup this money was not taken lightly. However we do have a duty to reclaim these costs and have tried to be as fair as possible in our approach."

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