TD says parking fees should be abolished as Cork hospitals see income drop by more than 50% in 2020

TD says parking fees should be abolished as Cork hospitals see income drop by more than 50% in 2020

The intake for 2020 represents a significant shortfall compared to 2019 when CUH took in more than €2.8m alone

CORK hospitals took in more than €1.4m in parking charges in 2020, just less than half the amount made the year before, The Echo can reveal.

Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act shows that in 2020, Cork University Hospital made just over €1.2m in parking charges while Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH) took in €66,000 and the South Infirmary made around €118,000.

Other Cork hospitals do not charge for parking.

The intake for 2020 represents a significant shortfall compared to 2019 when CUH took in more than €2.8m alone and over €438,000 was paid in parking costs to the South Infirmary.

The Echo revealed in the summer of 2020 that just over a quarter of a million euro was collected by the two Cork hospitals through car park charges in the first six months of the year - just 8% of the total intake in 2019.

In fact, just over €235,000 was paid to CUH for parking between January 1 and June 31 last year, as hospitals around Cork and Ireland curtailed services amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The figures suggest that, as Ireland reopened towards the second half of 2020, activity increased at CUH as the hospital took in around €1m in parking charges for that period.

A spokesperson for CUH said:

“The income generated from the car park is invested back into the provision of services in Cork University Hospital (CUH) including covering the cost of security, CCTV and the general upkeep of the car park.

“Additional funding was provided by HSE in 2020 to enable CUH to deal with the impact of Covid-19.” 

Cork TD Thomas Gould (SF) said that it is worrying to see Cork hospitals suffered a loss of income during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, he called for an end to hospital parking fees, stating that cost should not be a barrier to healthcare.

Deputy Gould called for the government to mitigate any loss of income as a result of removing hospital parking fees.

“The significant reduction in parking fees for hospitals in Cork is obviously a worry,” he said.

“This should be mitigated by the government and a plan should be put in place in conjunction with these hospitals to ultimately abolish these fees.

“Cost should not be a barrier to healthcare and this expands right into the parking lot,” he added.

“Hospitals should be supported if they feel that this loss of income will have an impact on staff or patient care but ultimately we need to see an end to these fees.

“In a state with a health budget the size of ours, there should be no need for hospitals to seek extra income from parking.”

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