South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel has been praised for offering car parking concessions to cancer patients, which sees them pay €10 for a two-day ticket.
The hospital is highlighted in the Irish Cancer Society’s Park the Charges report as being an example of good practice for its car-parking policy for cancer patients.
In 2015 South Tipperary General Hospital raised €360,000 in revenue through parking charges.
According to the report cancer patients throughout the country could be paying up to €63 a week in parking charges. The report highlights the financial burden of car parking on patients and their families.
The Irish Cancer Society says that the HSE needs to issue guidelines to hospitals so that all people undergoing cancer treatment receive free car parking. One cancer patient told the society that his family had spent €1,200 on car parking charges while he was in hospital.
Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society said “car parking charges represent a huge cost for many cancer patients, at a time of not just physical and psychological stress, but financial pressure.
People undergoing treatment are facing real hardship in having to deal with additional costs and large drops in income, and high car parking charges only add to this. We have proposed a set of guidelines for hospitals to the HSE, that, if put in place, would make a big difference to cancer patients".
He said the report showed that people receiving treatment close to urban centres were facing the highest parking costs.
"This is a problem for cancer patients, as many have to visit the eight designated cancer centres for individual cancer types in Dublin, Cork, Waterford, Galway and Limerick. The average cost of parking at these hospitals is €8 for a four-hour stay.”
The Irish Cancer Society also runs a Volunteer Driver Service that provides transport for cancer patients to and from their hospital chemotherapy treatments, which currently operates at 21 different hospitals nationwide.
Volunteer drivers in Tipperary accounted for almost than one in ten of every kilometre driven across the country this year, with 51 drivers covering a staggering 98,000km in 1,198 appointments made by patients in Tipperary.