The Great Western Hospital Trust has faced heavy backlash from patients since announcing that staff have to pay under new parking changes.

On April 4, The Great Western Hospital NHS Foundation Trust confirmed that its new parking system has gone live, which has changed the way visitors pay for parking at the site.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: "Visitor car parks will be managed through Automatic Number Plate Recognition, and patients and visitors will be able to pay on exit of the car park in the North and West car parks, and through pay machines in the Brunel Treatment Centre.

"Staff car parks will go live with the same system later this month."

But since releasing the statement on its Facebook page, the GWH Trust has faced huge backlash from over 100 commenters for continuing to make staff pay to park.

Swindon Advertiser:  £279,000 of staff earnings was spent on parking at the GWH in 2023. £279,000 of staff earnings was spent on parking at the GWH in 2023. (Image: Dave Cox)

"The staff should not have to pay to park, they get paid much less than they should and to expect them to pay is insulting," said an outraged Sharon Randall.

"The people who have helped me and my family in GWH have been absolutely amazing and are life savers," added hospital user Shelli-Anne Greenaway.

"This system should be overturned and staff should be able to park at their place of work for free."

One nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Adver: "It has been heartwarming to see the public taking a stand for us.

"I don't think there are many companies that would charge you every day just to come into work and most NHS staff aren't paid enough to justify it, but then the money is going back into the hospital so I can see both sides."

Although the recent changes to the hospital parking system have provoked anger, NHS staff having to pay to park is not new.

In 2023, the GWH Trust earned £1.3 million from parking charges, and figures show that £279,000 of those earnings came from hospital staff's own pockets.

A spokesperson for GWH Foundation Trust said: “Staff currently pay £1.50 per day that they are working to park on the Great Western Hospital site, and we have recently introduced a new ANPR system which will improve traffic flow and payment options.

“Charging for car parking is not a new initiative and has been in place for several years.

"It allows the Trust to manage, maintain and improve our car parks.

"Without raising income in this way, staff, security, and maintenance costs would be paid for by money currently allocated to providing patient services."