A topic of debate for residents in Ontario is whether hospitals should allow free parking for patients or continue charging the heavy price.
Anyone who has ever driven to Emergency, or visited loved ones in hospital, is familiar with the often exorbitant parking rates found near healthcare facilities. Jimmy Howard, a nurse from Sault Ste marie says that working at a hospital, he has seen the struggles of paying for parking, ” patients and families visit their loved ones in the hospital whether it be a cancer patient, or for an emergency. A patient stays in a hospital for a certain amount of time, and usually long term so this all adds up.”
In cities likes Toronto and Hamilton, it costs over 20 dollars a day for hospital parking whereas some rural hospital locations offer free parking.
It’s known that Hospitals use parking as a form of revenue for maintenance and helps fund for new equipment. Fanshawe College Professor Darren Chapman says that Hospitals should continue having paid parking, ” For the average person, hospital parking dollars are a reasonable expectation to pay and if the hospitals don’t make the revenue from parking, It will mean more taxes for all of us.”
London City councillor Jesse Helmer expressed his opinion on the topic, “I’m a believer that all parking should be priced. The land costs money.” Councillor Helmer also says there are other methods of travelling to a hospital, ” I would encourage people that most of the hospitals in London are well served by the bus so you could always jump on the bus and get to the hospital and visit people that way so it avoids the high cost of parking.”
The only good news that can come out of this is that Ontario Liberal provincial government is reducing a financial burden on patients and their loved ones by requiring hospitals that charge more than $10 per day for parking to offer discounted passes that effectively cut the daily maximum rates for frequent visitors by at least 50 per cent. This took full effect on October 1st.