Fianna Fáil Seanad Group Leader, Senator Catherine Ardagh says that it is time for the HSE to regulate car parking fees in hospitals across the country and particularly city based hospitals.

According to an Irish Cancer Society Report published this week, patients could be paying up to €63 a week in car parking charges. The report found that a four hour stay in one Dublin hospital can cost patients up to €12.80.

Senator Ardagh has called on the Health Minister to ensure that the HSE issue guidelines to hospitals so that all people undergoing in-patient cancer treatment receive free car parking and to also examine and review hospital parking charges more generally.

“Car parking charges represent a huge cost for many cancer patients undergoing treatment at a time of complex need and financial pressure. These are people that are already facing real hardship with additional costs and large drops in income; extortionate car parking fees further add to this.

“Patients receiving chemotherapy and radiotherapy must be exempt from paying car-parking fees. This practice is currently in place at hospitals such as Mayo General Hospital, St. Luke’s, Rathgar Co. Dublin and Wexford General Hospital and needs to be more widely adopted.

“I acknowledge that these charges are a huge source of revenue for many hospitals, however, the excessive rates charged at some hospitals place an unnecessary strain on cancer patients and their families.

“This is an important issue which is brought up time and time again by people in my constituency of Dublin South Central and which needs to be addressed. Should hospitals such as St. James’ adopt these guidelines, it will no doubt alleviate some of the difficulty with managing a long-term and serious illness.”