Income of €386,370 generated from the collection of parking charges at South Tipperary General Hospital for 2016, was allocated to the budget for the provision of services for patient care according to a reply received by Cashel Cllr Tom Wood to a motion tabled for the March Meeting of the Regional Health Forum.
The motion called on HSE management to make available the most recent annual income figures from the collection of parking charges at hospitals within the region and where possible outline what the income generated by such charges was used for.
In his response, Dr Gerard O'Callaghan, Chief Operations Officer with the South/South West Hospital Group, stated that South Tipperary General Hospital provides free parking for all cancer patients.
According to the reply, “parking charges form an integral part of hospitals budgetary policy within the region with the net proceeds, after payment of VAT at 23%, invested back into the Hospitals for the provision of services. The income is also used to fund the upgrade and upkeep of the car parks, security cameras and their management systems.”
Income from charges at Cork University Hospital for last year amounted to €3.1million, Saint Lukes Hospital, Kilkenny, €497,887, University Hospital, Tralee, €636,523 and University Hospital, Waterford, €1,514,650.
In response to the motion and with the support of other Forum members from around the region, Councillor Wood said that for many people Hospital Parking charges were a cause of concern and while some Hospitals had free parking or concessions for cancer patients it was not standardised and conditions varied across the board. Cllr Wood also expressed concern for the cost of parking on family members or carers visiting patients who, because of the nature of their illness, were hospitalised for lengthy periods.
The debate ended with a response that the HSE were open to suggestions and that they would discuss the matter further.