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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019
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Irish hospital car parks charged more than €19.2 million in parking fees in 2016

Cork University Hospital generated €3.1 million in 2016, while the car park at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin raised €464,000 in the same year.

7745 Our Ladys Hospital_90502400 Our Lady's Children's Hospital Crumlin Source: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

PARENTS OF SICK children attending Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin contributed to the hospital raising over €460,000 in car-park income last year.

According to figures provided by the HSE to Co Clare independent TD Dr Michael Harty the total amount generated by the children’s hospital at Crumlin last year totalled €464,373.

The €464,373 is part of €19.25m in parking charges generated by hospitals across the country last year.

The final figure will be even higher as the HSE couldn’t provide car-park income from Galway University Hospital, Sligo University Hospital and Letterkenny University Hospital due to commercial sensitivity reasons arising from a tendering process.

The hospital with the highest car-parking income in the country is Cork University Hospital which generated €3.1m last year.

The HSE reply to Deputy Harty states that the income from car parking charges at Cork University Hospital “forms an integral part of the hospital’s budgetary policy and the net proceeds is invested back into the hospital for the provision of services”.

Budget

A note related to the €464,373 generated at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital makes a similar point stating that “car parking income less related expenses forms part of the overall operational budget of the hospital”.

Those parking at Our Lady’s Children’s car park are charged €3.20 for the first hour and €5 for the next two hours. The hospital employs an external management company to manage car-parking and all cars parked unofficially throughout the car-park will be clamped with a release fee applicable.

Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin has no car-park and as a result raises no car-parking income.

Currently, the Irish Cancer Society is calling for free or subsidised parking for all cancer patients receiving treatment.

The second highest amount generated from car-parking is at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin where €2.79m was raised last year and a note states that the income from car-parking at that hospital campus “is ring-fenced to fund future car-park loan repayments, repairs and maintenance”.

Tallaght Hospitals Scenes Tallaght Hospital car park Source: Mark Stedman/Rollingnews.ie

The third most lucrative car-park last year was the car-park serving St James’s Hospital where €2.4m was generated in income last year with the HSE stating that “this income contributes to the general running costs of this hospital”.

Three other hospital car-parks earned more than €1m last year – Tallaght Hospital – €1.2m; Beaumont Hospital – €1.1m; and University Hospital Waterford – €1.5m.

Trolleys

The A&E unit at University Hospital Limerick has consistently had amongst the highest number of patients waiting on trolleys during the trolley crisis and last year, the hospital raised €907,195 from car-park income.

The HSE states that “car park income is classed as general revenue and used to support the operational costs of the hospital”.

However, a number of other hospitals in the Midwest don’t have any parking charges including Ennis, Nenagh, Croom and the University Maternity Hospital in Limerick.

The figures show that University Hospital Kerry raised €782,923; Wexford General Hospital – €716,527; Connolly Hospital – €685,113; St Luke’s General Hospital – €497,887; Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda – €497,861; Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore – €400,302; Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise- €322,017; South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital – €320,774; Mayo University Hospital – €325,687; and Mullingar Regional Hospital – €301,513.

General Manager at the HSE’s Acute Hospitals Division, Trina Doran said that paid parking was introduced in many hospitals over the past decade.

She said: “Car park charges were introduced as part of a series of measures to ensure that the cost of the provision of such services was not taken from the hospital’s operating budget.”

She added: “The income generated from paid parking is an important stream of funding to hospitals to ensure continued provision of health services.”

In a written Dáil reply to Róisin Shortall on the issue, Minister for Health, Simon Harris said: “Hospitals which charge parking fees are very cognisant of the financial implications of parking costs for patients and their families particularly those with long-term illnesses.”

He said: “Consequently hospitals have introduced a maximum daily fixed parking charge, thus capping this expense. While there is no national HSE policy governing car park charges, the HSE advises that it keeps hospital parking charges under review.”

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Gordon Deegan

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