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Coronavirus: Driveways and permits offered to Royal Free staff by ‘incredibly generous’ Hampstead public

PUBLISHED: 18:30 20 March 2020

The Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Ken Mears

The Royal Free Hospital. Picture: Ken Mears

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A Royal Free Hospital junior doctor told the Ham&High she had been “blown away” by the generosity of the Hampstead public after she called for help finding space for doctors and nurses to park near the hospital in Pond Street.

The anonymous doctor, who has as role managing resources for the hospital staff, said; “People have been incredibly generous. Since reaching out we have been swamped with people providing private parking. People have offered up their driveways, visitor permits, their underground car parks. What we are waiting for is something official now.”

She added: “Essentially, some doctors have had to move out of their homes because they have been living with vulnerable people, so some who wouldn’t usually drive are having to come in from as far away as places like Reading.

“Tube stations are closed and obviously this means people are having to drive more. And obviously from a safety point of view doctors treating patients with the virus don’t really want to be on a crowded tube either.”

The City of London Corporation confirmed hospital staff would be able to use the East Heath car park free of charge, while Camden Council confirmed it was working with the NHS to address the additional parking demand.

A Royal Free Hospital spokesperson said: “In order to support the amazing work of our staff at this time, parking for staff with permits is now free of charge and we are in the process of identifying as much additional staff parking as possible.”

Karina Dostalova, who chairs the CoLC’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee, said: “We are determined to support the NHS during this crisis in whichever way possible.

“We have therefore offered medical staff at the Royal Free Hospital free access to East Heath car park.” She added it was “deeply grateful” to the NHS workers during the pandemic.

Meanwhile a Camden Council spokesperson said: “The council is currently working with the Royal Free and other NHS Trusts to identify where there is demand for extra parking, and putting in place facilities where that need is found.

“It is engaging with all hospital trusts, GP surgeries, schools and the emergency services, and has asked them to inform it of their specific needs.”

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