Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unfair Car Parking Charges

I have been asked to raise this matter with Council and I give it my full support. Through my notice of motion , which is "That this Council writes a letter of support to the Macmillan Cancer Relief and the NI Chest Heart & Stroke Association in their campaign that all parking charges in Northern Ireland's acute hospitals to be waived for long term patients, carers and drivers. I would also ask that the letter be sent to all Councils seeking their support."

There has been an inconsistency in car parking charges across various Health Trusts in N Ireland – these range from 60p per hour to £1 per day to £8. However, some hospitals offer exception from charges.

I am pleased to say that the Ulster Community & Hospitals Trust exempts relations of terminally ill patients from charges. Also, the Senior Nursing Staff with the McDermott Ward in the Ulster will allocate passes to patients. I was disturbed to read recently, that the use of passes was being abused and I would urge anyone who knows of this to report it either to the hospital or to myself, immediately.

I am pleased that the Eastern Health & Social Services Council has also joined in the efforts to highlight this problem.

The notice of motion was unanimously supported with Cllr Smith highlighting the fact that the North Down Borough Council will have played a significant role in having this upsetting and costly problem resolved.