PARKING fees at a Glasgow hospital are to be lifted to help NHS staff caring for patients during the coronavirus crisis who travel to work by car.

Glasgow Royal Infirmary is one of only three Scottish hospitals locked into a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) arrangement, which sees staff paying up to £20 a day to leave their vehicles in the multi-storey car park.

A spokeswoman for APCOA Parking UK, which manages the car park, said it was in discussions with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde about scrapping the charges and said this could only be done if sanctioned by the health board. NHSGGC confirmed talks were underway to lift fees.

Charging for parking at NHS car parks in Scotland was scrapped in 2008.

But car parks at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Glasgow’s Royal Infirmary require staff and visitors to pay.

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Glasgow’s health board said it was doing everything possible to make it easier for staff to travel to work by car during the crisis and while the public is being discouraged from using public transport where possible to minimise the risks of spreading the virus.

A dedicated coronavirus testing centre has been set up at the Glasgow hospital.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “We have made it easier to park at work by temporarily relaxing parking restrictions on sites with managed car parking services. 

“Staff can now use any available space that was previously designated for individual, visitor or shared car use. 

“Disabled access and emergency spaces will remain restricted.

“The Glasgow Royal Infirmary is the only site where charges apply due to a long-standing contract. We continue to discuss how these can be lifted.

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“In the meantime, we have obtained 200 additional spaces for staff to use for the next three months and local management will be looking to identify how these should be appropriately allocated.

“Glasgow City Council has also confirmed that parking charges in the vicinity of The Royal Infirmary will cease from Monday 23 March, as a part of short term measures in the current challenging circumstances.

“We have also received a very kind offer from the Glasgow Pram Centre who are providing spaces for GRI staff.

“We want to thank our staff for their efforts to continue to keep patients safe as we respond to COVID-19. 

“We are here to support them as much as possible and are doing everything we can to make it easy to travel to work.”

The Scottish Government is said to have been supportive of charges being lifted for all three hospitals some years.

A petition was launched calling on car park managers to introduce a £5 flat rate for parking, which was supported by almost 12,000 people.