Westmead Hospital staff protest parking fee hike

On strike: "We believe staff parking fees should be waived all together due to the inconvenience to members," Health Services Union deputy division manager Adam Hall Adam Hall said. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

On strike: "We believe staff parking fees should be waived all together due to the inconvenience to members," Health Services Union deputy division manager Adam Hall Adam Hall said. Picture: Heath Parkes-Hupton

Staff parking at Westmead Hospital is getting worse, according to Health Services Union (HSU).

Around 200 staff walked off the job on Tuesday in protest of plans to triple staff parking fees from $3 a week to $9 next month with no guarantee of parking or any additional spaces.

The HSU represents hospital staff except for nurses and staff specialists.

The hospital is undergoing redevelopment and includes a multi-storey carpark.

“The parking situation is the worst it’s ever been at Westmead,” HSU deputy division manager Adam Hall told the Sun.

“The hospital is under a construction zone, which makes it harder to navigate around the area. We’re happy to talk about a fee increase compliant with the CPI once the multi-storey car park is completed ”

He claims the fee hike will subsidise clinical care at the hospital due to state government under-funding.

“The hospital had to get a loan from treasury to fund the car park,” Mr Hall said.

“Our message to hospital management is to stop relying on our members to subsidise clinical care. Our message to health minister Jillian Skinner is to fully fund the redevelopment.”

Hospital general manager Andrew Newton denied claims new fees come into effect next month and that the parking situation has worsened.

“The new fee of $22.20 per week will not be introduced until a new multi-storey car park is operational in 2017 and will reflect NSW Health’s policy for hospital staff car parking fees,” he said.

“Hospital management are currently implementing strategies to manage the demand for staff car parking. Car parking has already been boosted for staff as part of the redevelopment, with the opening of two new car parks earlier this year. A Westmead Car Park Consultative Group, comprising staff, unions and consumers has been meeting fortnightly for several months to discuss changes to parking across the campus, including changes to fees.”

Patient and visitor fees will change as part of the new car parking strategies.

“Free parking will continue to be provided to regular cancer and renal dialysis patients,” Mr Newton said.

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