TDs have called for hospital parking charges to be scrapped, with Fianna Fáil TD Marc Mac Sharry raising the issue in the Dáil this week.
Mac Sharry has called on the Health Minister to waive hospital parking charges for patients with cancer and other long term or life-limiting conditions.
“Patients may have to make numerous hospital appointments in any given week and the fact that they have to fork out for parking charges is particularly cruel,” said the Sligo-Leitrim TD.
“All of these people, or, in the case of children, their families, have paid tax over the years and have made their contribution to the HSE budget – which amounts to €14.5 billion this year. Minister Harris has consistently pointed to the fact that the budget increased by €608m this year. The estimated cost to cover parking charges for these patients is €13m – that’s less than 2% of the increase this year.
“In the grand scheme of things, €13m is not a huge amount of money; however it would make a huge difference for those who would benefit from it. It would be one less cost to worry about.”
Earlier this month Health Minister Simon Harris TD said that he has tasked the HSE to conduct a review into hospital parking charges.
A recent report from the Irish Independent has revealed that Letterkenny University Hospital has one of the most expensive short-stay car parks in the country, with parking costing €3 for four hours, €6 per 24 hours and €15 for a weekly rate. However, their weekly pass is amongst the cheapest in Ireland.
An Irish Cancer Society campaign revealed that across the country, cancer patients can spend up to €63 a week on parking.
“There is an opportunity for the Health Minister to make a little money go a long way and ease the burden on people who are living with serious conditions,” Mac Sharry continued. “I am urging him to conduct this review as a matter of urgency and to do the right thing and end parking fees for these patients”.
Donegal SF Senator Padraig MacLochlainn has also called for the charges to be scrapped, and comments: “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.”Tags: