NHS staff have had to pay out thousands in parking charge notices (PCNs) to the private parking company which looks after Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust’s (NDHT) car parks.

Staff paid £6,629 in parking PCNs received at their place of work in 2018/19 on top of the £148,888 the trust received from staff for parking charges.

The trust operates a permit system for staff with Total Parking Solutions, but does not have enough spaces for all permit holders, who pay up to £91 per year to be able to park in the dedicated staff car park.

One NDDH worker told the Gazette the majority of staff spaces are filled before 7.30am, making it a 'nightmare' for those arriving later in the day.

She said staff were having to arrive up to an hour early just to get a parking space when they were due to start later in the morning.

These frustrations come despite the trust adding an extra 100 parking spaces in 2019.

A spokesman for NDHT said it was urgently looking at how to improve the parking situation for staff, but added it was limited in the number of extra spaces it could create on site.

The statement from the trust said: "We understand that staff find parking on our sites frustrating at times and we are urgently looking at what we can do to improve the situation.

"Over the past year we have done what we can to increase the number of staff and public parking spaces available, but we are now very limited in the number of extra spaces we can create on site.

"Unfortunately we cannot guarantee an on-site parking space for every member of staff who drives to work.

"Because of the limited space we have, it is especially important that people park considerately across our sites.

"We are working with Total Parking Solutions to enforce our parking policy, which has clear guidance about parking considerately on our sites.

"We support staff to consider alternative options to using on-site car parks by providing reimbursement on local off-site car parks, subsidised bus passes and on-site bike lockers.

"Whilst we work on longer-term solutions, we ask our staff to support us in any way they possibly can."

The trusts's income from patient and visitor parking fees totalled £588,258, and there was £1,122 in PCNs.

NDHT said the income from parking is spent on providing the car parks at the hospital, Bideford Hospital and Barnstaple Health Centre, which totalled £96,570 in 2018/19. The rest is invested in providing patient care.