Former county councillor Tom Crosby, a declared Independent candidate in next year’s local elections, has backed calls from the Irish Cancer Society for hospital car parking charges to be abolished.
This follows recent claims that some cancer patients are paying up to €63 a week for parking on hospital grounds.
Mr. Crosby acknowledged that the hospitals in Roscommon and Ballinasloe Hospital offer free parking, but he said the issue of charges is very contentious elsewhere.
“In Mullingar and Portlaoise hospitals, a visitor or patient can park for free for 30 minutes – but Mullingar charges €1.50 for the 30 minutes after that, while in Portlaoise there is a €3 flat fee after the free period elapses”.
Mr. Crosby said that public hospitals have collected almost €13 million in a year in parking charges. He said that maximum charges for parking for a full day range from €3 to €15 and that there are currently no national guidelines governing charges for parking.
He is now calling on the HSE to carry out a review of hospital car parking charges and to engage with the Irish Cancer Society and other patient advocacy groups.
“This should happen without delay and they should ensure that such a review takes account of the circumstances of patients, particularly those who require long-term care, all with a view to establishing clear guidelines on this sensitive issue as a matter of urgency”.