Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said she is engaging with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, as part of her efforts to have public hospital car parking charges for cancer patients abolished.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after she met with the Laois-Offaly representative of the Irish Cancer Society to discuss the organisations Pre-Budget Submission.
The Society are advocating for the provision of €5 million to public hospitals to reduce the cost of car parking charges for cancer patients. It is also calling for a reduction in the Drugs Payment Scheme cap to a maximum payment of €100 a month, and a maximum payment of €72 a month for single-headed households:
“What is very clear to me following my meeting with the Irish Cancer Society today is that the stress and challenges created by car parking fees has to be tackled once and for all.
It is simply unacceptable to have cancer patients and indeed their families worrying in this way. Some of them are running to the hospital car park to avoid extra charges at a time when they are already under enormous pressure. How can this be tolerated?
As I understand it the typical cancer patient will spend approximately €700 on car parking charges. This could be multiples of what they pay in Local Property Tax for example.
I am aware that Simon Harris, when he was Minister for Health in May of 2018, announced that he had ordered a national review of hospital car parking charges.
At that time, he accepted that national guidelines were urgently needed and that cancer patients could not be left to rely on the goodwill of individual hospitals.
Since then, however, nothing has happened, and the issue has been allowed to drift.
We must bring focus back to this issue. Removing public hospital car parking charges would be an immediate and practical measure that could help these families at a time when they need their burdened lightened, not increased,” concluded Deputy Nolan.