Doctors and nurses are being ferried two miles by taxi because of a lack of car parking spaces at Birmingham’s multi-million pound showpiece new hospital.
Frontline medics are being forced to leave their vehicles at the former Selly Oak hospital site and are driven by mini-bus to begin life-saving shifts at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital a couple of miles away.
But they are given taxi rides back to collect their cars if shifts finish in the evenings when the mini bus has gone out of service.
Furious staff have accused hospital management of wasting thousands of pounds from patient care budgets to pay for the taxis.
According to Freedom of Information records, the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, which runs the QE, spends £170,000 a year on taxi services across the organisation. This could fund the salaries of 10 nurses or pay for 20 hip replacement operations.
The angry nurse, who did not wish to be identified, said: “It is absolutely scandalous that money, which should be used for patient care, is spent in this way.
"A young lady doctor was absolutely terrified when she finished an emergency shift at 1am and was forced to go to Selly Oak in a taxi to recover her car.”
She claimed that money was already deducted from medical staff salaries, but according to managers, this covered “access to the site and did not guarantee a parking spot at the hospital.”
The nurse, who had many years service, added that the shift patterns of frontline staff, which also includes medical technicians, radiographers and physiotherapists, meant that on-site parking was filled by the new hospital’s army of administrative workers.
She said: “There are alternatives and there is a tremendous amount of wasteland near the site which could be developed for car parking.”
The nurse added that a performance manager at the hospital had promised a “probe into the individual circumstances of nurses,” to see if any qualified for an on-site parking permit.
“No-one knows what this means, but it will probably be an infringement of our personal liberty. But it’s typical of the managerial gobbledygook used at the hospital,” added the senior nurse.
“Parking for visitors and patients is extremely expensive. Their car park is regularly half-empty, but medical staff cannot use it unless we pay,” the nurse alleged.
A spokesman for UHB NHS Trust denied the taxi bill ran into thousands of pounds and they could not expand existing car parks because of planning restrictions.
He said: “We are unable to provide a car parking space per member of staff on the Queen Elizabeth Hospital site.
“However, we do have additional car parking capacity at the Selly Oak site and provide a free shuttle bus service to enable those staff to access the QE Hospital.
“There are, on occasions, instances when staff need to return to Selly Oak outside the normal shuttle bus times.
“Wherever possible, the trust uses its own internal transport to transfer staff to Selly Oak, but on occasions, it is necessary to use a local taxi firm which, on average, involves just two journeys a week at a total weekly cost of around £10.
“In all cases, whether by taxi or our own internal transport, the drivers will take the member of staff direct to their vehicle and will wait until they are inside their car before leaving. The Selly Oak site is also protected by 24 hour security.”