NORTHUMBRIA Healthcare NHS Trust is still offering free parking to staff despite the end of a Government subsidy.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the Government covered the costs of providing free car parking to NHS staff working in hospitals.

However, the benefit ended last month.

Trade union Unison wrote to NHS trusts in the North East urging them to continue offering staff free parking despite this as the cost of living crisis intensifies.

The letter said: "The continuation of free parking for all NHS ​hospital staff who have given tirelessly during Covid-19 is achievable and something the trust should continue with permanently."

It added: "Staff on the brink of leaving the NHS may well see the reintroduction of parking charges as the final straw. This could mean them quitting when the NHS needs experienced staff more than ever​."

A spokesman for Northumbria Healthcare Trust said: “As part of its response to Covid-19, the Government provided a subsidy which allowed NHS trusts to provide free parking to staff. This subsidy has now ended, but Northumbria has not reintroduced any parking charges for its staff at this stage.

“We appreciate that the rising cost of living is impacting on everyone, including NHS staff, and we are currently looking at a range of measures that we hope will help with some of these challenges for those in most need.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are delivering on the manifesto commitment to provide free hospital car parking to thousands more NHS patients and visitors - with over 94 per cent of NHS trusts implementing free car parking for those who need it most, including NHS staff working night shifts.

“We rightly provided temporary funding so NHS staff could access free hospital car parking during the height of the pandemic. This ended on 31 March, but free parking for staff on night shifts will continue.”