HOSPITAL parking charges will be scrapped for all NHS workers following a petition calling for government action.

Last night, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed no member of NHS staff would have to pay parking charges during the coronavirus pandemic.

A petition had been set up by an Anthony Gallagher, an NHS GP, who had called for the government to thank NHS staff for their "bravery to step up in our nation's hour of need."

After receiving more than 400,000 signatures online, Mr Hancock confirmed all NHS trusts would be given the financial backing to provide free parking.

Meanwhile, the local government secretary has also agreed for local authorities to offer free car parking to all NHS workers and social care staff while they deal with COVID-19.

Mr Gallagher said: “I am in no doubt that the Government did not begin this week intending to cover all parking charges for NHS staff.

"This is a massive success, thanks to all the hundreds of thousands of people who signed my petition. 

"I hope after this nightmare has passed, that the Government will still notice how NHS workers go above and beyond EVERY day.

"It would not be reasonable, at that time, to give them all a pay-cut and reinstate parking charges.

"I am optimistic that the Government will do what is right and scrap these parking charges permanently."

So far in the UK there are 9,529 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while 463 people have now died after testing positive. 

The government is continuing to urge Britons to stay at home and not go out unless absolutely essential for one of the following reasons:

- Shopping for basic necessities

- One form of exercise outside

- Travelling to and from work, where this cannot be done from home

- Providing care for the vulnerable

- Any medical need