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Sydney hospital visitors coughed up $38 million in parking fees

Two and a half years ago, the state government introduced car parking concessions, giving eligible patients and carers the first three hours free, a three-day discounted ticket for $11.30 and a seven-day ticket at the cost of $22.60. Courtesy: 9News

It was a heartfelt promise by the Premier in 2017, to a sick teenager to lower the cost of hospital parking, yet revenue in the past year has surpassed $38 million for Sydney alone.

Nine News can reveal $38,262,000 was collected in hospital parking revenue in 2018-2019, with Western Sydney – consisting of Auburn, Blacktown, Cumberland, Mount Druitt and Westmead hospitals – being stung the worst, shelling out $13,790,000.

For the Brown family from Granville, the price of parking, is costing them visitors for their 4-year-old son Kobee who was left paralysed after contracting the flu and has since spent weeks at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

He is missing his siblings.

“We’ve been going on 50 days being here, and we’ve had next to no visitors because the parking is way too over priced,” said Christina Brown, Kobee’s mother.

“It’s upsetting when you do have a child in here and you do have other children that may want to come visit or family that want to come and visit but they can’t afford to.”

The sick and their visitors coughed up $9,170,000 in the southwest which includes Bankstown-Lidcombe, Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield and Liverpool Hospitals.

Sydney Local Health District which takes in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Concord, Canterbury and Balmain raked in more than $5 million while more than $4.3 million was collected in the Nepean Blue Mountains district.

The total figure for the eight metropolitan local health districts is up on the $37,969,000 collected the previous financial year.

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard told 9 News every cent goes back into health care services.

“We do have the world’s best health system and of course we are paying about a third of the state budget on health, so we do need to get a tiny bit back, and it is all it is relative to what we’re spending on health, for some of the parking,” Minister Hazzard said.

“The government says this is about convenience, the reality is it’s nothing other than a cash cow, and a cash grab by the government,” Shadow Health Minister Ryan Park said.

The State Government has built more 5000 new car spaces at hospitals across the state.

The department told 9 News “investment to deliver new car parking at major health facilities includes approximately 1,400 spaces at Westmead Hospital ($72 million, completed), 650 spaces at Nepean Hospital ($26 million, completed), 670 spaces at Campbelltown Hospital ($34.1 million, under construction).”

Staff at Campbelltown Hospital are angry they’ll soon have to pay around $25 a week, or more than $1000 a year, when fees are introduced there. It is currently free.

The Health Services Union has started a petition.

“We work really hard, and having to fork out our good earned dollars, to pay to work is ridiculous,” HSU representative Michelle Moore said.

“The people who are holding the system together, need to be able to come to work,” HSU secretary Gerard Hayes said.

Concessions for parking apply to a number of patients including those undertaking regular treatment, such as ongoing cancer treatment, various concession card holders, carers of long-term patients, cardiac rehabilitation and exercise class attendees and outpatients requiring daily dressings.

Source: https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-hospital-parking-fees-top-38-million-for-the-past-12-months/a3120f3a-7b55-4f30-b0fb-0db665d7d451