Michael Intervenes in Hospital Volunteer Parking Dispute

The ‘Friends of Northampton General Hospital’ is a charity which has provided volunteers and equipment to Northampton General Hospital for nearly thirty years. They have provided a valuable free service to many users and visitors to the Hospital and there is no doubt they have saved the Hospital a great deal of money over the years in staffing and equipment needs.

Senior management of Northampton General Hospital recently made what I consider to be the indefensible decision to start charging volunteers from the ‘Friends of NGH’ to park in the Hospital car park when they come in to do their volunteering.

This decision has meant that ‘Friends of NGH’ has taken the decision that they will have to disband. This will mean that NGH will lose volunteers and as a result, many patients may lose services provided to them by the hard working and dedicated ‘Friends of NGH’.

I completely sympathise with ‘Friends of NGH’ and would like to thank them on behalf of my constituents for all the hard work they have done.

In early July when this matter was first brought to my attention by one of the volunteers I wrote to NGH in order to register my concerns. NGH management has responded arguing that the decision is “necessary” due to the pressure on their parking services created by increased patient usage and new developments/wards.

I gave an interview on BBC Radio Northampton on Wednesday 19th July and in this interview I made clear my opposition to the decision of the management and my support for the volunteers, describing it as “indefensible.”

You can listen to my interview by clicking on the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05702t3 and then by skipping the programme to 8.11am (2 hours and 11 minutes into the programme).

The decision is a local one but I have written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, to see if anything can be done at this late stage.