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Matthews Calls on Minister Donnelly to Remove Hospital Parking Charges for Cancer Patients

Date: 13 April 2021

Green Party TD, Steven Matthews has written to Minister for Health, Steven Donnelly, to call for the removal of parking charges for cancer patients and other frequent visitors to public hospitals. This letter followed a meeting between Deputy Matthews and a Wicklow Representative from the Irish Cancer Society who is targeting this as a key goal. Discussing the issue, Deputy Matthews said:

“The existing situation is not fair for those suffering with cancer or for their friends and families who may accompany them to various hospital visits. The existing cost of parking is extremely high, something else that needs to be addressed, but for those that may have to visit hospital more than once a week and often for a significant amount of time, this puts an undue financial burden on them. This is at a time when a patient’s focus should be on their health and not on whether they can afford to drive to their appointment.

“Having met with a representative from the Irish Cancer society in recent weeks, it was extremely eye opening to learn of the cost implications for patients and their families, particularly if their treatment lasts for a significant period. The Programme for Government includes a commitment to introduce a capped daily rate for patients and their families and this was welcome progress but in the cases of patients who require frequent and long stays in hospitals such as many cancer patients, I believe it needs to go one step further and have parking fees removed entirely.

“I accept that the introduction of such a system may be complicated by the private ownership of carparks in hospitals but what I have suggested in my letter to Minister Donnelly is a badge system, similar to the blue disabled persons’ parking permit but that would only be useable in public hospital carparks. These badges would only be made available with the written support of a doctor and only for the patient or their immediate family who bring them for their appointments.

“The pandemic has brought this issue to the forefront as public transport options are not advisable for those with medical conditions that categorise them as high risk and medical appointments must be attended alone. As a result, people are often forced to drive themselves while incurring significant parking charges. People in this situation are facing enough difficulty in their heath struggle without facing substantial payments for parking and I have called on Minister Donnelly to engage with groups like the Irish Cancer Society and work towards a solution that treats people and their families fairly, concluded Deputy Matthews.



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