A report on hospital car parking has shown that Letterkenny is one of the most expensive short-stay car parks for patients in Ireland.
The financial toll of car parking for patients and families was brought to light by the Irish Independent today and by the Irish Cancer Society on an ongoing basis. Cancer patients are paying up to €63 a week in charges., according to the ICS campaign.
Car Parking at Letterkenny University Hospital costs €3 (up to four hours), €6 per 24 hours and €15 for a weekly rate. With the seven day pass, LUH is one of the least expensive for long-term. However, without an hourly rate is it one of the most expensive for short-term visits.
Nationally, the Irish Independent reports that public hospitals in Ireland collected up to €13million in car parking charges in one year.
In light of these figures, Sinn Fein has made a commitment to scrap hospital parking charges in its manifesto for the next general election.
Donegal Sinn Féin Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has welcomed the move, saying: “Today it has been confirmed that Letterkenny University Hospital has the fifth highest charge for visitors, parking for a short period of time at €3.
“Hospital car parking fees are an unnecessary nuisance for the families and friends of hospital patients.
“In some cases these fees bring financial hardship to families who are worried about the health of their loved ones.
“Sinn Féin has explored the possibility of scrapping hospital parking fees and I welcome that this measure will now be included in our manifesto for the next general election.”
The Irish Cancer Society launched a campaign last year for all people undergoing cancer treatment to receive free car parking.
The ICS report said: “Many cancer patients’ treatment is as an outpatient, such as for chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment, rather than staying in hospital as inpatients. This saves money for hospitals as it is cheaper than looking after a patient who stays overnight. However, cancer patients regularly visiting hospital for treatment may find themselves having to pick up the tab as high travel and parking charges add up.
“The Irish Cancer Society wants Government to examine ways to reduce the financial toll on cancer patients so they can focus on managing their treatment. Providing free car parking would provide a real and immediate financial improvement to cancer patients and their families.”