Fianna Fáil Seanad Spokesperson on Health & Mental Health Senator Dr. Keith Swanick says that it is time for the HSE to regulate car parking fees in hospitals across the country. A recent survey of fees found that patients and visitors are spending over €57,000 per week on car parking charges in hospitals. It also found that there is no consistency in the rates charged.

Senator Swanick has called on the Health Minister to carry out a review of parking charges across the country.

He commented, “The current system, which sees fees determined depending on location, is deeply unfair and the practice of implementing higher charges for spaces nearer the main entrances is simply wrong.

“This is an issue which is brought up time and time again by my colleagues in County Councils across the country. It is something which is not just a monetary issue but a community one. Not only does it create a substantial financial burden for people visiting the hospital, but people living near these hospitals are often inconvenienced by people parking in estates and roads in the surrounding areas in a bid to avoid these fees.

“Many people with serious conditions or long term illnesses have to spend several hours in the hospital on a regular basis in order to receive treatment – and they are forced to pay these extortionate fees on every visit. There are certain hospitals which add to the upset by imposing clamping fees. The release charge also varies depending on where you are and can be as high as €120 in some hospitals.

“While some hospitals operate schemes for people who require longer term parking, the bulk do not.  This is an issue which needs to be addressed so that the charges can be regulated properly and even capped in some instances”.