PATIENTS and visitors at sites ran by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) will see a return to car parking charges at the end of the month.

Back at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, car parking was made free of charge at locations ran by the health trust which runs Westmorland General Hospital, but the scheme is set to be scrapped on November 30.

A spokesperson for the trust said: "We hope that this has made things slightly easier and safer for everyone who has needed to come onto our hospital sites.

"With services reopening and more people returning to our hospital and community sites, our car parks are becoming very busy so we’ve taken the difficult decision to reinstate car parking charges for patients and visitors from Monday 30 November.

"We are extremely grateful to our partners, such as Lancaster City Council, who have worked with us to enable us to offer this support for the last few months. We are also hugely grateful to their staff for helping to make sure that their car parks have been safe for Trust colleagues to use."

This follows calls from a growing number of MP's who are asking Prime Minister Boris Johnson to make hospital parking for NHS staff to be made permanently free.

In March, the Government provided health trusts with additional funding to enable free parking for staff members.

But in July the government said the subsidy "cannot continue indefinitely” and would end “when the pandemic begins to ease”.

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has joined over 40 cross-party MPs in writing to the Prime Minister to call for hospital parking for NHS staff to be made permanently free.

Tim said: “Those working in the NHS are heroes.

“We owe them so much for their tireless work throughout this pandemic; caring for our loved ones and battling to save lives.

“They should not have to pay an extra tax for just doing their jobs.

“The Government should commit to fund local NHS trusts so that they can scrap hospital parking charges for NHS staff for good.”

Those who are Blue Badge permit holders will still be able to park for free at UHMBT sites, provided they use the allocated spaces for people with disabilities.