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Dublin: 3°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Parents of children in hospital losing over €600 income per week

Families can spend over €100 per day on costs associated with having a child in hospital, according to a survey released today.

PARENTS CAN SPEND over €100 per day on non-medical costs associated with having a child in hospital, according to a survey released today.  Some parents have to spend as much as €150 a day.

Children in Hospital Ireland found that 78% of the parents they surveyed had lost income, with an average loss of €605 per week. 

In a survey of more than 300 people, they also found that parking charges were a major source of expense for families. Anna Gunning, CEO of Children in Hospital Ireland called on these charges to be scrapped.

She said “there is a shocking variance in parking fees across the country” and welcomed the recent election promises to do away with the charges. 

The survey found that almost 90% of families used a car as their primary means of transport to the hospital, with the difficulty of bringing a sick child on public transport cited as the main reason for this.

Lack of change

A similar survey was conducted in 2004 and the chief executive said when they analysed the results this time, they were most shocked at the lack of change.

The costs have gone up for parents and we’re calling for the same things. 

The non-profit turns 50 years old this year and Gunning said one of the first issues they encountered in the 1970s was travel costs for parents. This remained one of the top expenses, with an average family paying €48 per day. 

Accommodation costs are also a big expense with some resorting to B&Bs or hotels when designated accommodation is booked out. Gunning said that a B&B can cost an average of €125 per night or if there are events in Dublin, this can rise to €300, especially near Temple Street during GAA matches. 

A large number of respondents also had children at home so were paying for childcare and/or babysitters. 

Financial strain

Almost one-quarter of respondents said they had borrowed money from friends or family to help meet expenses associated with their child being in hospital; 13% had taken out loans and 17% had incurred debt through overdrafts and credit cards.

Breakdown of daily average non-medical costs: 

  • Transport: €48
  • Parking: €15
  • Food: €27
  • Accommodation: €18
  • Total daily average costs: €108

Gunning also noted that an increased lack of home ownership “is an extra vulnerability” and has put pressure on parents who had given up their job to look after their child. She added that lower mortgage payments could be negotiated but this is harder with a private landlord.

“There are loads of simple fixes that would make life easier for parents. It’s a crisis time so the last thing you need to worry about is your finances.”

Parking Pressure Investigation

Do you want to know why are patients and families still paying high rates to park at hospitals?

Through Noteworthy, we want to do an in-depth investigation into how much hospitals across charge for parking and what systems they have in place to assist patients, especially those with chronic illnesses.

We also want to look at the most expensive and the cheapest places to park and examine how the burden of parking charges could be spread more evenly.

Here’s how to help support this proposal>

About the author:

Maria Delaney

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