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Car parking still a burden for Victorian cancer patients

Tuesday 18 October, 2016

An audit released by Cancer Council Victoria today has revealed that 88 per cent of Victorian public hospitals have a formal parking policy on their website, compared to zero per cent of private hospitals.

Cancer Council Victoria has today released the results of an audit of 21 health organisations responsible for 53 hospitals with fee-paying parking, conducted between February-April this year.

Among the audit's findings:

  • 100% of hospitals had ‘information' online about parking;
  • Private hospitals performed worse than public hospitals;
  • Only 20% of hospitals ranked highly in the audit of online information about parking options;
  • 43% show warning on parking fines;
  • 94% of public hospitals offer concessions according to their websites, compared to only 20% of private organisations; and
  • 88% of public hospitals had evidence of a formal parking policy, compared to 0% of private organisations.

The audit follows a directive in November 2015 by Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy to Victorian public hospitals 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.

Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said that while there was more improvement to be made, some hospitals had performed exceptionally well in the audit, with considerable improvements made since last year.

Last year, Cancer Council Victoria's Investigation of parking at Victorian cancer treatment centres report found only one-in-five centres provided patients with information on local parking prior to commencing treatment.

Nurses moving cars for cancer patients, social workers challenging parking fines and doctors cutting short appointments to ensure patients move their cars were among the issues highlighted in the report.

It was revealed parking at a metropolitan centre for an uncomplicated patient with breast cancer was estimated at over $1100 for one year.

"It is encouraging to see cancer treatment centres across Victoria have taken this issue seriously. By addressing parking issues these centres will benefit patients, their families and medical professionals." Mr Harper said

One of the top-performing organisations was Western Health's Sunshine Hospital, where a media doorstop will be held today to release the audit.

"We congratulate Western Health on their commitment to easing the burden of car parking on frequent attenders. These measures include a free parking for oncology patients, clear and comprehensive information made publically available regarding eligibility for subsidy schemes, drop off areas, reserved parking spots for day oncology patients to limit walking distance, and details including costs and time limits of parking available on streets surrounding the hospital," Mr Harper said.

"However, we are also alarmed that many Victorian hospitals are not making information on car parking accessible to patients, and that for many, car parking is an added financial burden whilst undergoing cancer treatment."

Mr Harper said it was concerning that no private organisations had evidence of a formal parking policy, compared to 88% of public health organisations that did.

"We would like to see consistent information available to all Victorian cancer patients, whether they are receiving their treatment at a public or private hospital," Mr Harper said.

"If more treatment centres were able to provide this information in advance, patients could spend more time planning treatments and getting better, as well as freeing up doctors, nurses and social workers to do the most important part of their jobs."

Hospital Car Parking in Victoria