Why are Irish hospital car parking fees so high?
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda has highest parking charge at €4 for one hour in their short-term car park
St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, charges €2.50 for the first hour and €9.20 for four hours in the public hospital car park. File photograph: Nick Bradshaw
Hospital car parking remains expensive in many hospitals across the country over a year after the HSE advised hospital managers to cap hospital car parking fees and provide discounted parking charges to certain patient groups.
While most hospitals have introduced reasonably priced daily capped car parking fees for those visiting patients for extended periods, hourly car parking costs in some hospitals remain stubbornly high.
The Mater Hospital in Dublin and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin both charge €3.20 for the first hour of parking, which is the highest rate of hospital car parking in Dublin.
Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, Co Louth has the highest parking charge in the county at €4 for one hour in their short-term car park. Visitors can pay €2 per hour if they find a space in the long-stay car park, which is also on the grounds of the Drogheda hospital.
Many hospitals operate a reduced rate of car parking for visitors or patients staying for longer than one hour, however, some continue to charge high rates for parking for up to four hours.
For example, Cork University Hospital (CUH) charges €2.70 for the first hour and €10.50 for four hours car parking (which represents a reduction of only 30 cent). If you identify yourself as a visitor or patient to CUH, you can avail of the €10 capped daily fee. St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin charges €2.50 for the first hour and €9.20 for four hours in the public hospital car park (which represents a reduction of only 80 cent).
In spite of the call for a daily cap of €10 in all hospital car parks in a draft HSE document of November, 2018, some rural hospitals still charge more than that for patients and visitors parking their cars for several hours. Visitors to University Hospital Kerry pay €12 for five to 24 hours compared to visitors and patients paying €6 for five to 24 hours in the car park at Letterkenny University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and Naas General Hospital.
What is paid countrywide?
In cities across Ireland, the rates remain inconsistent across different hospitals. In Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital and University Hospital, Galway, visitors pay €9 for four to 24 hours. But in Tallaght hospital and Limerick University Hospital, the daily rate is capped at €10 for cars parked between four and 24 hours in the hospital car park.
While some hospitals have introduced discounted or free parking for patients receiving cancer treatment or on kidney dialysis, others have not. The Mater hospital, which is operated by Euro Car Parks, does not offer any special rates for patients receiving regular treatment there. But the Mater has four free parking spaces for families of palliative care patients.
In University Hospital Kerry and Mayo University Hospital in Castlebar, parking is free for cancer day patients. At St Vincent’s hospital, Dublin, cancer patients receiving treatment pay €5 per day for parking. At Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, cancer patients pay a reduced daily car parking rate of €4. At Cork University Hospital, cancer patients receiving daily treatment pay €5 a week for car parking, while at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore, cancer patients pay a daily car parking rate of €1.
Similarly, hospital car parking rates for parents of ill children remain inconsistent. Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital offers a weekly car parking rate of €36 for families visiting sick children for the first week, reduced to €10 per week thereafter. At Cork University Hospital, parents of children on the day unit pay €5 a day and in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda, parents visiting babies in the intensive care unit pay a daily reduced rate of €4. In Letterkenny University Hospital, families of sick children have free parking after the first 24 hours.
Several hospitals across Ireland have free designated parking spaces for those attending the hospital for dialysis. Some hospitals also have free parking close to the entrance of their palliative care units.