Tuesday 20 March 2018

Hospital asked to reduce parking prices

Costs adding stress to frequent users at hospital car parks

Hubert Murphy

Cancer patients and their families and carers are facing added stress due to the high cost of parking in Our Lady of Lourdes car parks.

And Louth County Council have said they will now write to the hospital asking for free parking for all 'frequent treatment users'.

'Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital raised almost €500,000 from parking charges in 2015 and 2016. Patients facing a four hour stay in the short term car park at Our Lady of Lourdes will pay €15, while at the Crosslane Car Park, patients face a charge of €9 for the same period. 'I have spoken to cancer patients in the past two weeks and they have outlined to me the additional stress that parking charges places on individuals and families who are already dealing with a traumatic diagnosis.

'The HSE needs to issue guidelines to hospitals so that all people undergoing cancer treatment receive free car parking. One cancer patient outlined to me that his family had spent €1,200 on car parking charges while he was in hospital. The Lourdes Hospital charges are one of the highest in the country,' Cllr Pio Smith stated.

He says it is within the remit of management within the Lourdes hospital to offer multi - passes to cancer patients that allow people to come and go within the same day without incurring higher charges than the daily maximum rate, or offer a reduced weekly rate to families who are visiting a patient who is facing a longer stay in hospital.

Cllr Smith welcomed the fact that reductions are offered to patients in Drogheda who are facing financial hardship, but said that "this needs to be extended to all cancer patients who are already facing huge increases in day-to-day living costs. Anybody undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy should be allowed to park free as is the case in other HSE hospitals such as St Luke's in Dublin".

Raising the issue at last week's council meeting, he got overwhelming support, with Cllr Richie Culhane saying that the elderly should also be considered while Cllr Kenneth Flood said all frequent treatment users should be included, which was accepted.

Cllr Tommy Byrne is also to bring it up at health board level.

The Argus