NHS staff who have been working at the mass vaccination centre in Gravesend have been hit with unexpected parking fines after using a car park near to the centre.
The poor nurses, who have been working long shifts at weekends have been using a local council run car park. The staff have to park their vehicles and then go and get their NHS parking permit from the Woodville Halls, once they have signed in.
In the 10 minutes that it takes them to go to the Woodville Halls to collect their parking permits, the council car park wardens managed to slap parking fines on all the vehicles. The staff now feel that they are being deliberately targeted by the wardens as those working late shifts begin work at midday and that is exactly when the wardens arrive.
The fines can be equal or more than what the NHS staff are earning for their shifts, so it is not worth working for some of these. Some vaccinators are now saying that they do not want to work any further shifts at Gravesend if there is a risk of getting a parking fine. They would rather work at another location or not work at all.
Many of those working at vaccination centres do so as an extra to their usual job – so it is additional hours to their normal working week. If their overtime payments are being used to pay for fines, then it is not worth some of these hard working people to put in the extra hours.
issuing parking fines to NHS workers is not acceptable during these times
As some of the work is agreed last minute it is impossible to send out parking permits in advance. The staff have no option, other than to use their own money to purchase a pay and display ticket to cover them for then 10 minutes that their car is left without a parking permit.
It is really sad that Gravesend council have not recognised this issue and get their wardens to give 15 minutes grace period for NHS staff. They use a separate area in the car park that is reserved for NHS staff, so there really is no excuse to say that ‘they do not know if it is a car owned by a NHS worker’. These people have been working hard to provide vaccines for our protection, yet Gravesend are not protecting them from parking fines.
Those who have received a fine have contacted those responsible to see if fines can be reversed, but so far they are still waiting to receive an answer.