Nurses hit with fines and left with 'nowhere to park' as Nightingale Covid surge hub built in car park

Members of staff at a Leeds hospital say that they are being hit with fines because their usual car park has been closed to make way for a coronavirus “surge hub”.

By Rebecca Marano
Friday, 14th January 2022, 4:45 am

The new Nightingale scheme on land at St James’s Hospital in the city means workers are struggling to find parking and are being fined £40 a time if they leave their car in unauthorised land on the premises, a member of staff has claimed.

A woman, who has worked for the trust for a number of years, said staff were angry at the move and were sickened that they were being fined by their employer.

However, a spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said alternative on-site car parks have been provided for staff affected.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

A nurse said staff have been left with nowhere to park due to the construction of the Nightingale Covid surge hub hospitals.

The woman, who would not be named, said: “We have worked all through the pandemic and are feeling stressed as it is. Now to get fined for coming to work is outrageous.

“I have spoken to colleagues who say they are tense at the thought of coming to work. There is nowhere to park.

“We are not daft. We don’t park to cause obstructions but because we are parking in unauthorised areas we are getting fines.”

She said work on the Gledhow wing to replace windows had already meant some parking areas were out of bounds.

The new Nightingale facilities are designed to take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover from illness.

“The management and doctors are OK,” she said. “They have a separate parking area but we can’t use that. I drove round for 30 minutes looking for somewhere to park.

“It’s OK the management saying get their earlier and you will find somewhere, but we have children to get to school. It’s not that easy.”

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates and Facilities at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Due to the construction of the Nightingale Surge Hub, the Millennium car park at St James's hospital has been temporarily closed.

"Staff with permits for this car park have been provided access to alternative on-site car parks.

"Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust has provided free parking for as many staff as possible throughout the pandemic and all parking on-site at St James's and across our sites remains free.”

Read More

Read More
Soldiers to drive ambulances in Yorkshire as paramedics hit by Covid absences

Construction work began on the Nightingale "surge hub" at the hospital this week.

It is part of preparations for a potential wave of Omicron admissions.

Temporary structures, capable of housing around 100 patients, are being erected in the grounds of eight hospitals across the country it was announced last month and work is well underway at the city's site.

The new Nightingale facilities – manned by a mix of hospital consultants, nurses, and other clinical and non-clinical staff – are designed to take patients who, although not fit for discharge, need minimal support and monitoring while they recover from illness.

NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Given the high level of Covid-19 infections and increasing hospital admissions, the NHS is now on a war footing.

“We do not yet know exactly how many of those who catch the virus will need hospital treatment, but given the number of infections we cannot wait to find out before we act and so work is beginning from today to ensure these facilities are in place.

“We hoped never to have to use the original Nightingales and I hope we never to have to use these new hubs.”

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said: “We hope the Nightingale surge hubs at hospitals will not have to be used but it is absolutely right that we prepare for all scenarios and increase capacity.”

Support the YEP and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news and the latest on Leeds United. With a digital subscription, you see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.