Hospital Receives Praise For Parking Scheme For Cancer Patients

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University Hospital Kerry sign 3UNIVERSITY Hospital Kerry has been congratulated by the Irish Cancer Society for its car parking scheme for cancer patients.

Unlike most of the hospitals around the country, UHK allows cancer patients going through treatment to park free of charge.

The hospital is highlighted in the Irish Cancer Society’s ‘Park the Charges’ report as being a leader in good-practice for its car parking policy for cancer patients.

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In other hospitals, cancer patients could be paying up to €63 a week in car parking charges.

The Irish Cancer Society’s report highlights the financial burden of car parking on patients and their families.

The charity says that the HSE needs to issue guidelines to hospitals so that all people undergoing cancer treatment receive free car parking.

One cancer patient told the Irish Cancer Society that his family had spent €1,200 on car parking charges while he was in hospital.

Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said: “Car parking charges represent a huge cost for many cancer patients, at a time of not just physical and psychological stress, but financial pressure.  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. We have proposed a set of guidelines for hospitals to the HSE, that, if put in place, would make a big difference to cancer patients.”

Mr. Buggy said: “Our ‘Park the Charges’ Report shows that people receiving treatment close to urban centres are facing the highest parking costs.  This is a problem for cancer patients as many have to visit the eight designated cancer centres for individual cancer types in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick.  The average cost of parking at these hospitals is €8 for a four hour stay.”

There were significant variations in cost by region, with Dublin hospitals proving the most expensive.  On average a four hour stay in a Dublin hospital cost €8.86.  Hospitals in Munster had the second highest costs for a four hour stay at €6.70, while costs were lower in Connaught/Ulster at €4.67 and in Leinster (excl. Dublin) at €5.20, respectively.

Mr. Buggy said: “We are asking the HSE to issue guidelines to hospitals, like those that exist in the UK and to extend free car parking for cancer patients, currently available at University Hospital Kerry, to all hospitals.”

 

According to figures provided by the Society, at the 26 public hospitals that offer cancer treatment, the revenue raised by car parking in 2015 totalled almost €14.5 million, with two hospitals taking in in excess of €1million, and another two hospitals taking in €1.5million and €2.9million respectively. UHK raised almost €637,000 in revenue through car parking.

Mr. Buggy commended hospitals such as UHK, saying “discretion is required and we are asking hospitals to adopt the compassionate approach shown by hospitals such Kerry General Hospital where anyone undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy are allowed free parking.”

 

 

To find out more about hospital parking charges in your area, and to sign a petition calling for the HSE to issue guidelines around car parking, visit: www.cancer.ie/parkthecharges.

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