St Luke’s Hospital earning €35,000 a month in car park charges
KILKENNY TD Kathleen Funchion has called for hospital car parking fees to be abolished for long-term patients after new figures revealed St Luke’s is raking in more than €35,000 a month in charges.
Figures obtained by Deputy Funchion’s Sinn Féin colleague Louise O’Reilly revealed the country’s hospitals generated an astonishing €22 million in car park fees alone in 2017.
St Luke’s collected a total of €425,379 in fees from patients and their families.
Deputy Funchion (pictured below) told KilkennyNow.ie: “€4 a day is a lot for people who have to attend appointments regularly or for families visiting terminally ill patients. The reality is that a lot of people are already struggling with medical costs and it’s an extra pressure. If someone is visiting a patient for a full week that’s €28.
She added: “We pay taxes for a totally inadequate health service and this is another hidden tax on patients and their families. There needs to be a removal of these charges, but in the interim long-term patients receiving regular treatments such as cancer patients receive an exemption.”
St Luke’s operates its car park directly, unlike some other hospitals that hire an outside operator, which often generate even higher charges. For example, the South East’s regional hospital, University Hospital Waterford, collected a staggering €1,186,984 in fees in the space of 12 months.
The figures were obtained in response to a parliamentary question from Deputy O’Reilly to Health Minister Simon Harris.
Commenting on the findings, the Sinn Féin health spokesperson said: “When a patient is sick, the last thing they or their loved one’s need is a hefty car parking bill; it is extremely unfair and adds to stress and strain at a very difficult time.
“Charges for car parking at hospitals are a charge on people who are unwell and levied on them because solely because they are sick.
“Patients have told us that they simply can’t manage the cost of parking on top of other expenses they face as they battle their illness.”