SDLP Mark H Durkan has criticised the decision to issue parking fines to health staff during this time of crisis.
His remarks follow complaints from a number of affected staff who have recently received letters from the Car Parking Service at Altnagelvin hospital.
As a result, Mr Durkan has written to the CEO of WHSCT calling for the dismissal of these fines.
The Foyle MLA commented: “The issue of parking fines for health workers is a perennial one and I am hugely disappointed that it should resurface during this difficult time.
“This week I have been contacted by a number of affected staff who were issued with letters for new and outstanding parking fines at Altnagelvin.
"Such fines at any time are an affront to our hard working health staff however, to place this added burden when they are working around the clock to save lives and keep our communities safe in the midst of a health emergency, is a slap in the face.
"It is a disgrace that they should be penalised financially for turning up to fight on the frontline.
“Car parking charges are an unfair expense on people frequently attending NHS hospitals, whether they are patients, staff or visitors. While I acknowledge and welcome the fact that parking fees have been scrapped for now within the hospital grounds, health chiefs need to look at other ways to improve parking at the site to ensure a fairer deal for everyone.”
He continued: “Our weekly praise and clap for our health workers is an empty sentiment if their lives are made more difficult by the unnecessary stress of parking fines.
"I have written to the CEO of the WHSCT to dismiss these charges- in my opinion, they should be wiped completely as a common courtesy.
"We will forever be indebted to our health staff, fining them for showing up to do their job when they are putting their lives on the line is nothing short of shameful.”
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