London's MPs are being urged to support a campaign so that health visitors and community nurses can obtain 'free' car parking badges when they are doing home visits.
Health visitors have received hefty parking fines - and have even had their cars clamped - when visiting patients. Unlike doctors, they don't have a 'free' parking badge.
Now the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association (CPHVA) is calling on Health Secretary, Alan Milburn to approach London's boroughs to institute a 'free' car parking badge system for health visitors and community nurses.
The Director of the CPHVA, Jackie Carnell said: "The parking issue is a source of great concern to our members across the UK, but the situation is particularly dire in London - that's why we starting our campaign in the capital by lobbying London MPs." The CPHVA's National Equalities Officer, Gail Cartmail said: "Our members in London are fed up with being unjustly penalised for doing their job. I receive more complaints about car parking - or the lack of it - from London members than on almost any other issue."
The CPHVA's Deals on Wheels campaign for health visitors and community nurses highlights the problems that they face when using their cars on business.
The four main areas of concern are :
- poor lease car arrangements that many NHS trusts offer their staff
- punitive tax levels on cars that community nurses must have to carry out their job
- paltry mile rates that are less than the AA recommended rates
- parking, or the lack of it, which means community nurses facing hefty parking fines, and even clamping when out doing essential, but non-emergency home visits.
London MPs are also being asked to lobby the Health Secretary so that a uniform - and fair - policy as regards leasing, mileage rates, and taxation is introduced for vehicles belonging to community nurses, not just in London, but across the country.
Ms Cartmail said: "All these factors relating to cars conspire to make the jobs of community nurses more difficult and the endless search for a parking space reduces time available for clients. Currently, our members are subsidising the NHS when they use their cars."
"What the CPHVA is calling for is equality and fairness for a hardworking and dedicated part of the capital's workforce. Ideally, we would like community nurses to be given badges so they can park freely, as doctors do."