Hospital car parking charges should be capped, new report recommends

New system could include a two day parking pass for €10 or five day pass for €20

The review of hospital car parking charges was ordered last March after the Irish Cancer Society pointed out a patient could spend up to €1,000 on parking over the course of treatment. Photograph: iStock

The review of hospital car parking charges was ordered last March after the Irish Cancer Society pointed out a patient could spend up to €1,000 on parking over the course of treatment. Photograph: iStock

 

Hospital car parking charges should be capped at €10 per day, a new report has recommended.

Hospitals should also be required to introduce flexible charging systems for families and friends of patients who are frequent visitors, the report commissioned by Minister for Health Simon Harris says.

This could include a multi-entry two consecutive day pass for €10, a five consecutive day pass for €20, and a 15 consecutive day pass for €35.

“Consideration should also be given to passes for extended periods of time, eg, 10 times entry pass within a three-month period. Where necessary, tickets should be validated by the hospital to ensure this option is only available to patients, carers and visitors.”

However, the report by the HSE acknowledges that many hospitals already have contracts in place with third-party providers “but every effort should be made to address car parking fee issues in the immediate term”.

“Third party providers should be made aware of the policies and concessions in place and ensure that they are implemented in a patient-centred manner.”

The review was ordered last March after the Irish Cancer Society pointed out a patient could spend up to €1,000 on parking over the course of treatment.

A spokeswoman for Mr Harris said he had requested the HSE to carry out a review of hospital car parking charges “with a view to establishing clear national guidance and principles for hospitals”.

“The Minister requested that the HSE engage with patient advocacy groups to ensure that the review took account of the clinical circumstances of all patients who require long-term care. Some hospitals do take into account the pressure these charges can put on patients and families but the Minister believes there should be a roll-out of national guidelines in this regard.

“He has now received the report from the HSE and looks forward to progressing with its recommendations in 2019.”

The report says hospitals that already provide free parking should continue to do so, but validation measures and penalties are needed to ensure these are not abused by “non-users”.

“Every effort should be made to ensure access and affordability for users while ensuring parking spaces are not abused.”

Parking fees and transport arrangements should be clearly advertised on hospital websites and appointment letters, the report also recommends.

The report also suggests the provision of shuttle buses from train and bus stations to hospitals be considered, as well as park and ride options.