Calls for more support in reducing hospital car park prices

A Fine Gael Senator has expressed disappointment at the lack of support given to the Irish Cancer Society’s ongoing campaign

A Fine Gael senator has called on Government to support the Irish Cancer Society's ongoing campaign to reduce hospital car parking prices by issuing a parking pricing guideline.

Speaking today, Dublin senator Catherine Noone said:

“Long-term illness patients and their families are under immense pressure physically, financially and emotionally, day and night. One particular case I heard of, involved the wife of a cancer patient spending €1,200 on hospital parking over a period of 6 months.

"This is an area where improvements can clearly be made, as demonstrated by the NHS in the UK. The NHS guidelines for hospitals advise that certain priority groups be given free or reduced parking in order to reduce the financial burden on patients and their families during long hospital stays with regular visitation.

“The financial burden of hospital car parking is often made worse by the fact that some patients may have to stop work due to their illness. We need to listen to their needs and, where possible - assist them."

In December last year, the Irish Cancer Society said cancer patients are being forced to spend up to €63 a week on parking charges at Irish hospitals.

Donal Buggy, ICS Head of Services and Advocacy said parking charges represent a huge cost to patients at a time of financial pressure as well as physical and psychological stress.

“People undergoing treatment are facing real hardship in having to deal with additional costs and large drops in income and high car parking charges only add to this,” he said.

An investigation carried out by Newstalk.com found that only two hospitals in Ireland offer free parking to patients.