FINDING a parking spot at the Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, has proven easier for members of a Brisbane parish than shouldering the burden of the ticket price.
Members of the neighbouring Stafford Catholic parish, including parish priest Fr Denis Scanlan, have called for changes to the cost of parking at the Prince Charles Hospital and Holy Spirit Hospital campus in Chermside after parishioners complained about the burden of paying for parking.
Queen of Apostles social justice committee chair Mary Davissen said many parishioners and other residents in the local area criticised the high rates in the privately owned car parks.
This included elderly husbands who could not pay the parking to visit their wives in hospital, and one pregnant woman with two children who had to park one kilometre away to afford a weekly visit to see their father who was awaiting a heart transplant.
Fr Scanlan said one of his parishioners was paying up to $40 a day to accommodate for regular visits to the hospital.
“For some parishioners it’s a drain on the budget,” Fr Scanlan said.
Last year the parish collaborated with the Queensland Community Alliance to host an assembly where parishioners and hospital patients testified to the burdensome parking costs, with one woman saying they had to choose between paid parking on campus and purchasing heart medication.
Queensland Community Alliance have since met with staff from the hospital with proposals to improve the cost of parking for patients and visitors.
These include concessions for people with disability permits, and health card or veterans care card holders under extended cancer care, discounts for people visiting the hospital more than twice a week, as well as the provision for social workers to recommend concessional parking to patients who are visiting more than 30 times in a calendar year and face financial hardship individually or as a family.
Prince Charles Hospital executive director Anthony Williams acknowledged the costs of parking at the facility’s two private car parks could cause “additional stress” on patients and visitors.
“Our number one priority is caring for patients and we understand that parking costs at privately owned and operated car parks can be an additional stress on patients and their families,” Mr Williams said.
He said the privately owned and operated car park allocated monthly subsidies to the hospital “to help assist patients and family members experiencing financial hardship with parking costs”.
“Importantly, we recently have been successful in negotiating an increase in this allocation to twenty each month,” he said.
Mr Williams also confirmed a review of car-parking availabilities on the hospital campus, which includes both Prince Charles and Holy Spirit hospitals.
“It’s important for us that any proposals for additional capacity include a plan to assist with the parking needs of our most vulnerable patients and their families,” he said.
Patients and visitors to the northside hospital can also purchase five to seven-day visitor passes from the large multi-storey car park which attracts a discounted rate from the daily maximum rate.
A market-led proposal to construct additional multi-storey car parks is expected for release later this year.