NHS staff will no longer be charged to park at hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak, the government has announced.
The decision comes after public calls to provide free parking for NHS hospital staff who are working tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
A petition launched online, titled 'Please thank your NHS workforce. Stop charging them to use their staff car park', raised more than 400,000 signatures in less than four days.
And now the UK Government has said it is giving extra funding to all NHS Trusts so they can offer free parking for NHS and social care staff during the outbreak.
Meanwhile, National Car Parking (NCP) has also said it will provide free parking to NHS staff at its 150 car parks.
Announcing the news Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time.
"So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.
"My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS Trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other Trusts to do the same with our backing."
Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, said: "Our NHS staff and social care workers are working round the clock to save lives and should not have to worry about the cost or time restrictions of parking, which is why I've agreed with the Local Government Association and councils in England to provide free car parking on council owned on-street spaces and car parks.
"By working together, we are able to support these heroes as they play a front line role in our national effort to tackle the coronavirus crisis."
Chief executive of NHS England, Sir Simon Stevens, said that the NHS had further plans to support its hardworking staff.
He said: "Our NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unprecedented global health threat, which will be a major challenge for health services across the world, and we have listened to what they have told us would make their lives easier.
"Free parking will make a big difference for hundreds of thousands of frontline staff, but this is just the start, and we will setting out further support offers over the coming days and weeks, to ensure the NHS looks after those who look after all of us."
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