HOSPITAL workers have been ‘outraged’ by a hike in their parking charges at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General.

Union chiefs said they have been in negotiations with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) about the changes, but then an email to staff this week advised them of the increase.

Full-time staff will now pay £13.50 a month for a space, having paid £9.60 since 2006. Anyone working less than 20 hours a week will pay £7.50 a month.

Peter Dales, Unison representative for ELHT, said: “There’s a lot of outrage because some staff are really struggling. It’s a significant increase and we were trying to find whether there might be a fairer way of raising the cash.

“Some staff earn less than the ‘living wage’ of £7.50 per hour and I know of those who have to access foodbanks because they are struggling so much.”

He said staff had already been angered by the Government’s refusal to award a one per cent pay rise to all workers this year.

Only those who have reached the top of their pay band were offered the increase.

The car parks at ELHT are run by private contractors under the trust’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals, with the income rolled into the overall contract.

Mr Dales said the move was likely to exacerbate problems in residential streets near the hospitals, where people have complained about parking.

The charges for patients and visitors have not changed.

Kevin Moynes, the trust’s head of human resources and organisational development, said: “East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has recently reviewed staff car park charges to reflect the cost to the trust.”

“Trust employees continue to benefit from subsidised parking charges and this is the first increase since 2006.”