Cork hospitals take huge hit in parking charge revenue due to Covid-19 pandemic; services may be hit by income losses

Cork hospitals take huge hit in parking charge revenue due to Covid-19 pandemic; services may be hit by income losses
Signs at the entrance to Cork University Hospital during the Covid-19 outbreakPic: Michael Mac Sweeney/Provision

OVER a quarter of a million euro was collected by two Cork hospitals through car park charges in the first six months of this year — but that’s just 8% of the total intake in 2019, The Echo can reveal.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act revealed that Cork University Hospital (CUH) collected over €2.8m in hospital car park charges, while over €438,000 was paid in parking costs to the South Infirmary Victoria University Hospital (SIVUH), for the whole of 2019.

This year however, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic impacted hospital attendances, ensuring the intake for the first six months of 2020 is just over 8% of last year’s total.

Over €235,000 was paid to CUH for parking between January 1 and June 31 this year.

Cork TD Donnchadh O’Laoghaire (SF) warned this loss of revenue could impact the ability of hospitals to deliver vital services.

Cork University Hospital, Cork.
Cork University Hospital, Cork.

He said: “The last few months would have seen less people attending our hospitals but it also saw the introduction of free parking for staff, which is something Sinn Féin was very active in calling for and we believe needs to continue in the long run.”

“Parking in hospitals shouldn’t be so expensive for patients as well — ideally it would be free, or certainly far more affordable. But in the short term, we need to ensure that the commitment to free parking for healthcare staff and hospital workers remains in place.

“This is clearly leading to a revenue loss for hospitals and whether they should be relying on parking revenue or not is immaterial. This revenue loss could potentially have an impact on the hospitals’ ability to deliver services, so the Government needs to step in and fill the gap.”

Documents from CUH show that car park charges at Cork University Maternity Hospital were not included in the figures. The public car parks in CUH charge a rate of €2.70 per hour up to a maximum charge of €15 for a 24-hour period.

In the FOI response, SIVUH explained that parking charges included staff parking costs and the public car parks, and were exclusive of VAT.

Both CUH and SIVUH were contacted for comment.

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