Dublin South West TD, Sean Crowe, said he was shocked to learn that visitors to Tallaght University Hospital have paid out a whopping €1.2 million to a private company in order to park at the hospital in 2017.
The Sinn Féin TD believes it is long past the time to abolish hospital car parking charges for sick patients attending hospitals for treatment.
Deputy Seán Crowe said:
“When a patient is sick the last thing they or their loved one’s need is a hefty car parking bill, but unfortunately that is the reality at most hospitals across the State. This situation is extremely unfair and creates stress and strain at a very difficult time.
“Charges for car parking at hospitals are an unfair charge on people who are unwell or on people who wish to visit someone that is ill. It is levied on them and in most cases they have no other option but to pay.
“In many cases patients have told me that they simply can’t manage the cost of parking on top of other expenses they face as they battle their illness.
“A reply to a Parliamentary Question submitted by my colleague, and Sinn Féin’s health spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly TD, shows that in 2017 a whopping €1.2 million was collected in car parking charges from sick patients and others at Tallaght University Hospital.
“The Irish Cancer Society have pointed out that cancer patients can pay up to €63 a week in car parking charges as they attend hospital to receive their treatment. This is a serious burden to many, many patients with cancer and other illnesses. I know that St James’ Hospital has a daily rate reaching a maximum of €5 for cancer patients.
“Surely the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, should be working with hospitals to phase out car parking charges in the interest of sick patients. This was done by the NHS in Wales and to an extent in Scotland, so there is a blueprint for how this can work in other jurisdictions.
“We should be making sure the patient experience is as smooth and stress free as possible at hospitals like Tallaght and not charging people outlandish prices for using a necessary service or for being ill.”