A SOMERSET midwife feels she may have made a ‘small but important’ contribution to the Government’s decision to scrap parking charges for frontline workers during the coronavirus crisis.

Katie Mathews, a midwife at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, wrote to Wells MP James Heappey earlier this month asking for his support to petition car parking operator, Q-Park, to offer free or reduced parking charges to staff at the hospital during the COVID-19 crisis.

The midwife from Highbridge said she was ‘amazed’ when she received a letter from Mr Heappey on Thursday (March 26) which said the Government was due to announce that free parking would be provided to all NHS staff at hospitals ‘within hours.’

Whilst she can’t be sure that her letter was the only factor in the Government’s decision Katie said she thinks writing to MPs can make a difference.

She said: “I have never written directly to my local MP but his prompt response has made me realise that he does actually listen.

“Even at what must be a really busy time, he had the time to write back.

“I will certainly be writing to him again in the future.

“I was vaguely aware that he was now a minister so I would expect he now sits in on many more meetings.

“Maybe he even discussed my letter with Matt Hancock or the PM, Boris Johnson himself?

“I think that everybody should write to their MP more often.

“It certainly can’t hurt, and might just make a small difference in the future, especially when your MP is pro-active and moved in the right circles.”

Katie said once the country is through the worst of this crisis she aims to launch an online petition to ask for free parking for NHS staff to become permanent in England as she feels staff ‘deserve better.’

“In time, and once we are through the worst of this current crisis, I aim to launch an online petition using change.org, with the sole intention of asking for these temporary changes to free NHS staff parking to me made more permanent in England,” Katie said.

“Hardworking part and full time staff deserve better - NHS staff in both Wales and Scotland do not pay to park on site and have not paid for a number of years.”

A spokesman for Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have made car parking more easily available to all colleagues who need to access the Musgrove Park Hospital site during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We have worked with the car park operators, Q-Park, to make our car parks free of charge to staff and patients during this time.”