DHB proposes parking fees for hospital revenue

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The controversial move by the Hawke's Bay District Health Board to introduce paid car parking outside its hospital in Hastings is now being opened up for its staff and the public to have a say.

Over the next four weeks, the DHB will ask if there is support for the proposed parking fees which will cost staff a minimum of $2 a day or a maximum of $4 a day.

The proposed public fees are free for the first half hour with charges beginning at $2 per hour and a maximum of $7 for a day's parking.

The charges are also being considered for the Napier Health Centre and Corporate Office for the public and staff.

Chief operating officer Warrick Frater said car parking for staff and the public had been an issue for a number of years with security, theft, safety and availability of parks causing frustration.

"As a health board we would rather spend money on health services and facilities and leave car parking to experts in the car parking business. This year alone, the DHB has spent $130,000 on the upkeep of car parks, excluding the security costs.

"Any extra income generated from paid car parking would go back into health services and facilities for the Hawke's Bay community."

Mr Frater said exemptions to fees, which may be full or part payment of parking charges, would include parents of seriously ill children, mothers of babies in the Special Care Baby unit, primary care givers of a child who was a long-term regular day patient and renal dialysis patients who drive themselves to their appointments.

Exemptions would also apply to staff called back for emergencies.

Mr Frater said the board was working hard within a tight operating budget to improve and build on quality, safe health services that benefited the whole community.

"We would rather focus our energy and spending on delivering a quality health service."

Further information can be found on the DHB's website as well as an online feedback form to the proposal on www.hawkesbay.health.nz

Feedback closes December 14, 2012 and the results will be reported to the board at its February 2013 meeting.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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