Imagine spending a day in the shoes of a medical professional.

Whether as a nurse, providing world-class treatment in a crowded ward, or as a surgeon, performing life-saving work on a child in A&E.

The stress must be unbearable sometimes, especially when factoring in the ridiculously long hours NHS workers are expected to put in.

Now imagine after all that: you pay your employer, whichever NHS trust owns the hospital, for the pleasure of parking there. Or even worse, imagine coming off the back end of a 12 hour, high pressure shift, to see a parking warden slapping a ticket on the windscreen of your car.

Our emergency service professionals are already underpaid - this hidden tax on them is morally wrong.

Health trusts, in their defence, are stretched wafer thin across their budgets - pressures levied on them by a growing, ageing population and the underfunding of the NHS by successive governments has left health chiefs with no choice.

Furthermore, many hospitals are faced with legacy infrastructure problems, with those first built in Victorian times often squeezed onto small stretches of land with minimal space for car parking.

The problem is a two-edged sword, however.

By providing free parking for everyone, not just staff, hospital car parks would be full to the brim with people who have not considered other, more sustainable transport options such as taking the bus or train.

The overflowing car parks would spill into neighbouring residential areas, and many already do, which would simply be passing the buck on to local councils, which are also approaching the back end of a decade of austerity.

On the other hand, to charge everyone who uses the car park, including medical professionals, seems like a bit of a money grab. Patients at the hospital are not there to generate income, that would go against the founding principle of the NHS, and to charge families to visit a patient seems insensitive.

Medical professionals should not be charged, and neither should those attending A&E, but visitors who forego more sustainable transport should not be expected to be accommodated for free.