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Nottingham Hospitals staff parking charges will be reintroduced in October as 9,000 staff apply for 3,000 spaces

Staff parking at Nottingham University Hospitals sites has become an issue of capacity after the pandemic where fewer people worked on site and needed car parking spaces, says the Trust.

It is proposed that staff car parking charges are reintroduced for staff from 1 October 2023. In accordance with the government’s mandate, parking will be provided free of charge for blue badge holders and for staff working night-time hours.

A report, published ahead of the NUH Board Meeting this week, details the challenges and proposals to be put to the board for approval.

Staff fall into 84 different types of parking permit that could be issued.

Screenshot 2023 07 11 at 11.28.22

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The report states that:

‘Excluding blue-badge bays and the 26 emergency-only spaces at the QMC, there are 3,037 on-site parking spaces available for staff, with 1,153 at the QMC and 1,884 at Nottingham City Hospital.

‘Following launch of a new permit application system in October 2022, a total of 9,600 applications have been received, of which 8,934 are for a daytime space.

‘There are not enough spaces to cater for every NUH colleague who wishes to park on site, with nearly three times the demand per space available during the day.
‘Regardless of how the Trust might choose to address this challenge, there is no avoiding the conclusion that, based on modelling undertaken to date, up to 3,840 members of staff wishing to park on site will be unable to do so, and around 700 may get the permit they want for the Nottingham City Hospital site, but not for the QMC where there are fewer spaces available.’

A modelling project has also been published which details how many spaces are available at different times of the day and night, and how the Trust proposes to allocate permits to people who apply for them.

The report continues:

Those who stand to gain, retain or lose permits

Once final modelling has been completed following approval of the proposed principles within this paper, a comprehensive report setting out modelling outcomes will be presented to the Trust Leadership Board. This will provide an opportunity for the identification of any new operational risks and how to mitigate them prior to implementation. In the meantime, and based on the modelling undertaken in February (which has informed the proposals within this paper), a summary of the salient findings is given below.

• At least 1,939 applicants who don’t have permits today stand to gain a permit under the new system. A further 207 requesting parking at both sites will get a permit for the Nottingham City Hospital, but not for the QMC. These figures do not include those to be placed on waiting lists, some of whom may get a permit particularly at the QMC site where spaces are expected to increase.

• Of those not getting daytime permits or being placed on a waiting list, 1,806 (out of 3,893) will still gain a night-time/out-of-hours permit from the outset, allowing them to park between 16:30 and 07:30 Monday to Friday, and 24/7 throughout the weekend.

• 990 applicants stand to relinquish their permits because they meet fewer eligibility criteria than others. A further 409 are expected not to get a permit for the QMC, but will be placed on the waiting list for a space at Nottingham City Hospital.

• A total of 1,056 applicants will be placed on a waiting list for the permit type of their choice, and a further 676 will be placed on a waiting list for the Nottingham City Hospital but, because no further spaces are available, not for the QMC. Once waves have been rolled out, anyone waiting on the list who is deemed unlikely to get a permit will be informed and asked to make long-term arrangements, so as to manage expectations.

• More colleagues from medical and dental, nursing and midwifery, allied health professionals and other clinical staff groups will gain permits than lose them; however, whilst statistically this is positive, it is very much acknowledged that this may still be a difficult outcome to accept for people who presently have permits but will not retain them following the period of protection applied.

• Nurses and midwives as a group will see the largest net increase in the number of permits allocated (8%), with those in medical and dental, and administrative and clerical groups seeing a net loss of -4%. It should be noted that with the medical and dental group having a disproportionately high percentage of existing permits, it is unsurprising that this group see a small net loss overall.

‘It should be noted that the inability to gain a permit applies only to daytime hours, Monday to Friday. Regardless of circumstances, all colleagues requiring on-call access out of hours, during evenings/night-time and weekends will receive a permit to enable them to park during these times.

‘The loss of permits by some is a regrettable but unavoidable consequence of implementing improvements to the permit allocation system, which aims to enable an equitable, consistent and transparent approach.

‘To ensure the ongoing integrity of the system, it is vitally important that, once agreed, the criteria for allocating permits is adhered to. The consequence of pushing the boundaries for any exception will be to reintroduce inequity, inconsistency and lack of transparency. This will require Trust leaders to remain steadfast in upholding the principles of the new system once it has been agreed and implemented.’

The trust says that a comprehensive programme of communications and engagement has been developed to help ensure that the roll-out of the new permit system is achieved effectively, sensitively and in accordance with the different ways in which applicants might be affected.

Staff Engagement

The report details efforts made to include staff in the decision.

Two consecutive surveys were undertaken to engage staff, with each receiving more than 4,000 individual responses.
The first survey, undertaken in July/August 2021, sought to gather insight from staff regarding their experience and views on car parking and the way in which permits might be allocated. A total of 4,091 people provided feedback and suggested ways in which improvements could be made.

A number of themes emerged, including:

• Only 1 in 5 would consider an alternative to driving into work

• The Medilink inter-site service needed to be improved, e.g. addressing
overcrowding and reliability, extending hours of operation

• Park and ride operating hours should be extended to mirror shift patterns

• Investment is needed into facilities to encourage more walking and cycling to work, e.g. changing rooms, security, showers

• Changing shift patterns/supporting increased remote working was as important a consideration as car parking arrangements

• Distance, childcare, disability, community working and essential car usage should be taken into account when allocating permits

• Parking permit allocation arrangements should be based on clear and consistent criteria, with a better, fairer and transparent system all round
The second survey, launched in September 2021, responded to findings from the first, and sought to identify the criteria deemed by staff to be the most important when allocating parking permits. A total of 4,146 complete responses were received and the following priorities to consider when allocating permits were identified:

• Essential car users, e.g. frequent travel between hospitals sites and/or in the community, or to other locations

• Staff who live further away and/or have no access to public transport.

• Staff who work long shifts (10 hours+)

• Staff with emergency on-call responsibilities (NB: life/limb/organ or enabling critical Trust operations to continue, i.e. not standard ‘on-call’)

• Staff starting early or finishing late

• Staff with physical disabilities

• Clinical staff providing direct patient care.

• Staff with caring responsibilities (children under 12 and other dependents)

A staff car parking group was established early on, representing key professions from clinical and non-clinical areas, and attended by Staffside representatives.

Colleagues were kept up-to-date with developments and were asked to share insight and feedback on findings and proposals, which in turn was used to inform next steps as well as communication with the wider staff community.

This group met weekly and was led by the Chief Financial Officer, with other senior leaders in attendance including the Director of Estates and Facilities, Director of Communications and the Head of Facilities.

Staffside representatives have been closely involved throughout and their views sought on all matters, including the approach to engagement and communication with staff, the setting of timescales for rolling out new arrangements, reviewing findings and discussing proposed next steps.

The Staffside lead continues to sit on the weekly car parking task and finish group and has been consulted, engaged and informed throughout the process, helpfully providing advice, steer and feedback on behalf of the Joint Staffside Consultative Committee (JSCC) and staff members in general. Regular briefings and discussions have also taken place within JSCC meetings.

The report will be put to the board on Thursday at the Board Meeting, which has the following recommendations:

Members of the Trust Board are asked to approve the following:

Recommendation 1: That the new permit allocation system is adopted with staff notified during the week commencing 24 July 2023 and new arrangements taking effect from 11 September 2023. This includes the recommended priority order in which permits are allocated, the waved approach to implementation with a ‘watch and see’ period of at least 14 days, and the proposed weightings given to the five eligibility criteria of distance (3 points) or contractual commitments (3 points); long-shift (3 points); carer (2 points); and patient care (1 point). Finally, that new arrangements must be applied consistently without exception to ensure their ongoing integrity.

Recommendation 2: As set out in section 3.4.5, that temporary ‘protection’ is given to those who have permits but will lose them under the new system, to enable an easier transition for them. The duration of protection, from six weeks to 12 months following notification, has been determined by risk assessing roles affected with respect to potential impact on patient services should that person leave.

Recommendation 3: That authority is delegated to the Director of Estates and Facilities to make the decision to bring forward timescales for the roll-out of waves based on the principles set out within this report, and to determine when the optimum number of permits that can be allocated has been reached. The Trust Leadership Board will be informed of progress throughout.

Recommendation 4: Approve the appeals process and terms of reference, which can be found in Appendix B.

Recommendation 5: That night-time staff are granted a permit during night hours free of charge, including the night-time element only of those requesting hybrid permits, in accordance with the mandatory elements set out within the Government’s NHS Car Parking Guidance for NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts, 2022.
Furthermore, that all staff with on-call responsibilities be granted a permit during night-time hours free of charge (this is over and above emergency on-call, which is addressed within wave 1/Category B permits).

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