All Victorian public hospitals will be required to review their car parking fees and publish and publicise formal policies that will reduce the burden on vulnerable patients, in particular those who frequently attend hospital.
The Andrews Labor Government has delivered on its election commitment to review hospital parking fees at Victoria’s public hospitals.
Car parking fees are set by each individual health service, with revenue raised spent on providing services to patients.
However, an independent review commissioned by the Government found there is significant variance between health services’ car parking arrangements.
The review found hospitals charge different car parking rates, and some – not all – provide discounts for regular patients, visitors and carers, pensioners and healthcare card holders, and people experiencing financial hardship. However, in some instances, these are not always promoted and it is currently up to families to seek information about available concessions, rather than having it easily available.
As a result, the Government has issued a directive to health services requiring changes to be made to ease the burden on patients and visitors, particularly vulnerable Victorians and those who frequently attend public hospitals.
The Government has directed every public health service operating fee-based car parking to have a formal policy in place by 1 February 2016.
The Government has also ordered health services to publish and publicise these policies, and to have all details of charges and concessions clearly placed at carpark entrances, wherever payment is made, as well as inside the hospital.
Public health services will also be required to review their car parking policies annually, and their policies to be endorsed by the Board to ensure appropriate concessions are provided to vulnerable patients.
To increase transparency, concessions benefits provided under these policies will be required to be reported in health services’ annual reports, and will be reported in the Department of Health and Human Services’ annual reports.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Having to go to hospital regularly can be distressing enough, both as a patient and as a visitor, without having to worry about how much it will cost to park the car.”
“The variance between car parking fees between health services is stark, and while some hospitals do offer discounts, it’s not always publicised.”
“We’re directing all public hospitals to do what they can to ensure Victorians can safely, conveniently – and economically – receive regular treatment or visit their loved ones in hospital.”