The pay and display car parking and clamping policy at Portiuncula Hospital must be urgently reviewed as patients are being forced to rush out of A&E in fear of being clamped, Deputy Denis Naughten stated.
“While I believe that patients, carers and next of kin should not be charged parking fees at all at hospitals, the policy at Portiuncula Hospital where there is a clamping in place is totally unacceptable.
“In most car parks motorists pay for the time that they were in the hospital when they are about to exit. However, in Portiuncula Hospital there is a pay and display system which leaves people guessing how long they will be before they go into the hospital.
“How could anybody going into A&E at present have any idea how long they are going to be and therefore how long they will need a parking ticket for with the current level of over-crowding?
“In such situations people are paying for two hours but then having to rush out, sometimes with a sick child, to get another ticket because of the fear that they will be clamped. Nobody who has experienced a long wait in A&E with a sick relative or child should be in a situation where they have to worry about being clamped when they go back to their car,” Deputy Naughten remarked.
Referring to a proposal to cap hospital parking at €10 per day, Denis Naughten noted that patients and their carers should not be expected to pay for parking.
“Patients and their carers should not be expected to pay for parking, especially when you consider that quite often this would be on top of a €100 fee to attend A&E, while in some cases this could result in bills of €300 for patients who must attend hospital five days a week for six weeks to receive treatment.
“The whole system of car parking charges at our hospitals needs to be overhauled. Patients, their carers, those providing transport to appointments and next of kin such as the parent of a sick child should never have to pay for parking in any of our hospitals and we must introduce an outright ban on clamping in hospital car parks,” the Independent Deputy concluded.