Queensland hospitals ordered to reduce parking costs
A PETITION calling on the Queensland Government to address the burden of hospital car parking fees for families, sick people and health workers, appears to have been answered.
On July 1, the State Government handed down a directive to all Queensland Hospital Health Services to develop a series of policies, unique to each area, to address car parking costs.
Health Services have until October 1 to present their policies to the State Government.
The directive follows a petition launched in April by health advocate Justine Christerson who labelled hospital parking fees "price gouging" with many families paying $30 a day every day to access facilities.
The petition was signed by almost 17,000 people.
The government directive will impact all public hospitals, including Lady Cilento Childrens' Hospital where many Ipswich children are being treated for serious illnesses, along with other children from around the state.
The parking fee of $30 a day, or $110 a week, is $20 more than travellers pay per day at Brisbane Airport.
Ms Christerson said she was pleased the State Government had responded to Queenslanders' call for improved access to parking concessions for families dealing with health issues.
"For families, the parking costs have a huge impact," Ms Christerson said.
"Many people simply can't afford the parking costs so it means families are going without essential things like groceries for the week just to cover the costs.
"It's a significant burden."
The orders include provisions for staff parking and the development of a concessions policy to relieve the financial burden on patients and their carers.
Improved access to parking for people with disabilities and a long-term planning strategy to address any additional car parking needs also features in the directive.
While the directive addresses most of the concerns raised Ms Christerson's petition, the development of a new parking framework has been in the works for a while.
Last year Health Minister Cameron Dick asked the Health Department to consult with health services on developing a new parking framework.
It was expected to be finalised this year.
"One of the challenges of hospital car parking state-wide is that there is no consistent approach to parking concessions," Mr Dick said, at the time.
"The cost of parking and the level of discount varies between hospitals.
"Many Queensland hospitals provide free car parking and those with paid parking all provide discounted parking for patients experiencing hardship."
The QT has contacted the Health Minister's office.