Less than two in five Irish hospitals are providing free car parking to cancer patients, according to a recent survey.
The Irish Cancer Society study of all 26 public hospitals that offer treatment to patients also shows just over one in five hospitals offer reduced rates.
Donal Buggy, head of services and advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said he warmly welcomed the number of public hospitals offering free or reduced car parking to cancer patients while they’re having treatment but warned, however, that “there is still some way to go on this issue”.
While ten hospitals offer free car parking and a further six offer concessions on a daily or weekly basis the other ten hospitals still charge patients full costs, meaning patients can face charges of up to €63 per week when they’re having treatment.
“Patients have told us that they simply can’t manage the cost of parking on top of the plethora of other expenses they face.”
Individual hospitals have the authority to abolish charges for cancer patients.
The Irish Cancer Society believes, however, that the HSE needs to publish national guidelines that ensure that cancer patients are treated fairly and equally across the country.
Mr. Buggy said: “It’s unfair that one patient being treated in Connolly Hospital goes free, when another, 15 minutes down the Navan Road, pays up to €15 a day in the Mater Hospital, or that patients in Waterford pay €8, when those in Kilkenny pay nothing.”
“The HSE needs to publish and issue to hospitals a set of guidelines we’ve proposed, which will not only ensure compassion and care at a difficult time for patients and their families, but will ensure wider awareness of concessions where they exist and will bring about transparency in how parking revenue is used”.
Currently, the only national policy that exists in relation to car parking is that hospitals must set a daily maximum charge, however, there is no upper limit on this charge.