‘Disgraceful’: parents vent anger at children’s hospital parking costs

Parking remains an issue for parents of sick children being treated at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Photo: Michelle SmithLady Cilento Children’s Hospital concerns raised in JuneLady Cilento Hospital ‘rushed opening’ findings to guide Sunshine Coast hospital

Parents unhappy with the cost of parking at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital could see some relief in the near future.

The issue has been raging on the Children’s Health Queensland Facebook page since August 3, when the price of parking at the facility increased by $1 per visit.

Parents expressed their anger at having to fork out between $8 and $28 for parking.

“It already costs me $27 to park for my daughter’s monthly medical treatment admission,” wrote Lauren Harrison.

“That’s over $5000 in parking for the next 16 years of her (never going to stop) monthly admissions.”

Commenter Kate Lolive described it as “disgraceful”.

“Having to attend the hospital multiple times a week and also other hospitals and appointments for my daughter with multiple disabilities, the stress of the financial cost and extra stress trying to find street parking or other options available is something that families with sick children don’t need,” she wrote.

The LCCH has more than 2000 car spaces available in the hospital precinct for staff, patients, families and visitors, including 650 in the basement car park and 1500 in the Hancock Street car park.

Both are run by Mater Health Services which sets the price of parking.

In a statement, Mater said its fees were benchmarked against the general area, and all revenue was reinvested in patient care and medical research.

“Mater is aware of the high demand for car parking in the precinct and the anxiety that is caused when parking is difficult to find,” the statement said.

“As a result Mater is working closely with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to develop some solutions to ease access to parking for patients and their families and it is hoped these will be able to be implemented in the near future.”

Children’s Health Queensland CEO Fionnagh Dougan said they realised parking was an ongoing area of concern for parents and relatives of sick children.

“The introduction of four-hour parking zones on the Upper and Lower B1 levels of the hospital’s basement car park aims to address this issue and improve access for LCCH families,” she said.

“The four-hour time limit will deem them unsuitable for commuters and workers in the immediate area and nearby South Bank precinct, thereby improving availability for families.”

But parents on Facebook have dismissed the four hour parking zones as hopeful at best.

“What is going to happen if you park there for more than four hours? Are they going to start fining people?” asked Kirsty Butler.

“What if you’re waiting for an appointment and the clinic is running behind? I’ve waited for 2.5 hrs for an ophthalmology appointment for my daughter before as they were running that behind.”

Ms Dougan said the LCCH already provided discounted parking rates for some families experiencing particular hardships.

“These provisions generally assist families of long-term patients, rather than have them incur normal costs for weeks or months of parking,” she said.

But many parents believed the criteria for receiving such support was too limited.

“When I inquired about this, I was told eligibility is being an inpatient for three or more days and holding a health care card,” wrote Cassie Hammond.

“There was no inclusion of outpatient appointments, which for families with a child with chronic and complex care needs are often many and it is often difficult to get appointments on the same day.”

Sharlenn Mizzi accused the LCCH and Mater of profiting off people’s misery.

“We travel 47kms everyday and then pay a nearly $30 in parking fees,” she wrote.

“We have a child who is chronically ill and will be in and out of hospital for years to come. In this admission we have paid close to $400 in parking passes. Queensland Health stop sitting on your hands and sort out this ridiculous situation!”

Parking costs at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital: First 30 minutes $830 minutes – 1 hour $141 hour – 2 hours $182 hours – 3 hours $223 hours – 4 hours $244 hours to 24 hours $28Lost ticket $40Unlimited parking permits are available for $72 for three days or $110 for five days. 

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