Free hospital parking extended

Monday December 21st 2020

Staff-Car-Park-Edinburgh-Royal-Infirmary

The staff car park at Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

Free parking will be extended till March 2021 at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for staff, visitors and patients. The move was announced by the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeanne Freeman, and also applies to fellow PFI hospitals Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Ninewells Hospital.

Whilst the Scottish Government abolished paid parking at hospitals in 2008, it doesn’t have the power to do so at the three hospitals which were built under a PFI contract by the previous Labour administration. The PFI contract means the car parks are owned and run by a private company as a private initiative and there is no contractual right for the Scottish Government to renegotiate or buyout the contract.

As a result since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government has paid the car park providers to lift charges at these PFI hospitals with the initial three month suspension announced by Ms Freeman in March 2020. It was then extended until January 2021 with an agreement now in place until March 2021.

Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame has welcomed the news saying:

“A great number of my constituents commute to the Royal Infirmary and this announcement will be relief to many of them, who have worked incredibly hard throughout this pandemic. I know from speaking to them that free car parking is particularly appreciated by staff who are working antisocial hours and travelling to and from more rural areas where public transport is not a viable option.

“It will of course also be a big help to anyone needing treatment at the Royal or visiting loved ones there, giving them one less thing to worry about at what can be a stressful time.

“The fact that the Scottish Government have to pay through the nose to allow this is of course not satisfactory and the legacy of Labour’s PFI projects is an awful one. Because of the way the contracts were drawn up by the previous administration there is no easy solution but the Scottish Government is continuing to work on a long term solution to the issue of car parking changes for staff and patients.”

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