The Irish Cancer Society has urged the Government to take action to reduce hospital parking charges after it emerged that the HSE took in over €5m in parking fees at its public hospitals last year.
A spokesperson said for the Irish Cancer Society said the charity "regularly talks to people who have contributed to that €5m figure.
“When you break it down, that figure is people scraping the bottom of their bags for coins after an exhausting day of treatment.
“It's people watching the clock tick while they get the chemo, worried they don't have enough to pay for an extra hour."
According to files released under Freedom of Information, the average income from parking was €244,000 per hospital.
In 2021, €5.1m was taken in by the HSE in car parking charges in its public hospitals — which is almost identical to the previous year. The money relates to 21 statutory hospital car parks.
The highest was €1.25m in Cork University Hospital, followed by €657,000 in Galway University Hospital, and €468,000 in Waterford Regional Hospital.
Aontú put forward a bill in the Dáil last month that would see the charges end for many patients attending outpatient services.
An Irish Cancer Society spokesperson said: “When they see that figure in the, they'll read about it with a sense of dread because they're the ones who are forking out for the charges after a day in hospital.”
She added: “Commitments have been made to introduce a more compassionate approach to parking in every public hospital.
"There isn't any justification for the charges and the Government needs to take action on them."
Beaumont Hospital consultant, Bill Tormey, says these charges should be reduced considerably.
But he cautioned that abolishing charges altogether would see people freeloading in areas like Dublin, Cork, and Galway.
There should be a charge to park but it should be seasonal and moderate, Mr Tormey said.
According to the CUH website, you can park in any of its public car parks at a rate of €2.70 per hour up to a maximum daily charge of €15.
A reduced daily charge of €10 is available to patients, carers, and visitors by contacting a member of the security department.