Tuesday, 24th April 2018
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Fianna Fáil TD for Waterford, Mary Butler has said that the regulation of car parking charges at public hospitals, with a view to reducing them, must be a priority for the Government.

"For the last number of years, there has been a public outcry about the costs of parking at hospitals. In all too many locations, the costs are rising, and they are placing a major financial burden on families visiting their loved ones in hospital or on those receiving regular treatment such as cancer patients.

"At present, the cost of parking at University Hospital Waterford is €4 for up to three hours with a maximum daily charge of €8. In 2016, UHW earned €1.5 million from parking fees alone.

"Recently the Minister for Health, Simon Harris announced a review of parking charges at public hospitals. This is a welcome development, and one I know that is desperately needed.

"The Irish Cancer Society's 'Park the Charges' report recently revealed that cancer patients could be paying up to €63 a week in car parking charges. This is simply unacceptable and unfair.

"Patients living with cancer should be focused on getting better, and should not be unduly worried by the financial implications.

"In addition, people who as a result of their treatment need to visit the hospital regularly to have bloods taken or see a nurse of doctor for check-ups having to fork out hundreds of euro every year for parking.

"My colleague, Cllr. Jason Murphy has worked hard on this issue over the past number of months and years, and we continue to work to ensure that patients are not financially burdened as a result of visits to the hospital.

"The review needs to be concluded as quickly as possible as every week delayed is another week of excessive parking charges for patients and their loved ones.

"Clear national guidelines on car parking fees in hospitals are required. However, we need to see reductions in the overall cost to patients, and in particular, cancer patients,” concluded Butler.

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