HEALTH workers at one of the region’s biggest hospitals are facing a 36 per cent increase in the cost of parking, officials have revealed.

Earlier this week officials at the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust announced that car parking charges for patients and visitors at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough would increase by between 15 and 17 per cent from May 1.

Part of the proceeds will go towards the development of two new car parks on the site and the building of a link road.

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A member of staff pointed out that staff who pay to park at the Middlesbrough hospital were facing a 36 per cent increase in the cost of their annual parking permit, more than twice the increase facing patients and visitors.

Jake Turnbull, regional spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing, complained that the hike in the cost of parking permits for hospital staff would be “a significant extra cost to bear” at a time when nurses have already had to put up with three years of pay restraint.

He predicted that the increased charges “will be difficult for some patients, visitors and staff to afford.”

A spokeswoman for the South Tees Trust confirmed that new staff tariffs for anyone working more than 20 hours a week would go up from £202 a year to £276 on May 1.

Staff who worked up to 20 hours a week would be charged £138 a year rather than the current £101.

Car parking costs at The Friarage Hospital, in Northallerton, which is also run by the South Tees Trust, will also rise in line with the increases at James Cook University Hospital.