Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel Smalley: Paying for hospital parking is madness

Alex Dexter has started a petition against the high cost of hospital parking. Photo / Doug Sherring
Alex Dexter has started a petition against the high cost of hospital parking. Photo / Doug Sherring

Bravo to Alex Dexter, the father of a premature baby who's begun an online petition against the high price people pay to park their cars at hospitals.

I've long had issue with this but, fortunately, I've never had to spend long periods of time visiting someone who's unwell. Typically, I'm just popping in for a couple of hours or so.

But Alex Dexter has a little boy, a tiny little boy born prematurely and he'll be spending a bit of time in hospital with his wife and their precious little newborn.

Last week, during what you can imagine is a pretty stressful time, he paid $140 to park his car at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital.

The family is on a single income and while Alex says they can afford it, that would be a stretch for thousands of families. $140 to park your car for the week? That's a lot of money.

And there is no option. You have to pay which is highly unfair. I think a patient's next of kin or caregiver shouldn't have to pay. You could issue one free parking ticket a day for each patient. Or, at the very least, they could pay a reduced amount - perhaps $5 a day.

Alex Dexter has gone a step further with his petition because he doesn't believe nurses and hospital staff should have to pay for parking either. They're doing God's work, after all, but at the very least I think next of kin or a caregiver shouldn't find themselves having to fork out $140 a week.

A woman who's signed Alex's petition says she's been with her mum in Christchurch Hospital - in the intensive care unit - and the family spent $287 on parking in the first week. And their mother has been in hospital now for five weeks.

Another woman talks of having to leave her son while he's undergoing treatment for leukaemia, to go and top up the parking. This is just madness.

Last year, Wilson Parking collected $98 million from its parking facilities across the country. I'm pretty sure they can afford to give next of kin a break in the handful of hospital car parks they govern.

Just a little bit of humanity in a situation like this goes a long way.

If you want to sign Alex's petition, click here.

- Newstalk ZB

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Rachel Smalley is a radio host for Newstalk ZB. Listen to her between 5am and 6am every weekday morning.

Rachel’s career in journalism is extensive. She has reported from Europe, Africa, Asia and America, covering elections in Britain, the United States, France and New Zealand. She joined Newstalk ZB as host of KPMG Early Edition in 2013 and also works on TVNZ’s Sunday and Q&A current affairs programmes.

Read more by Rachel Smalley

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 27 May 2017 08:39:04 Processing Time: 274ms