Patients who need the most support will save as much as $200 a week on public hospital parking fees under changes to be introduced by the NSW Government.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Health Minister Brad Hazzard have today announced that more patients and carers will be able to access hospital parking concessions from July 2017.
Concessions will also be extended to every public hospital car park in NSW where fees are applied, including those run by private operators.
"These are significant changes that will result in real savings for the patients and families who need it most during the toughest times," Berejiklian said.
For example, a patient suffering from a rare blood disorder and requiring daily transfusions at St George Hospital would pay $21.20 per week under the new policy, instead of up to $231 per week where no concession has been applied.
Similarly, parents who have to stay with their chronically ill child through the day at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, would pay $21.20 per week instead of $196 per week.
"These changes will make parking concessions at NSW hospitals the most generous in Australia," Hazzard said.
"We will now negotiate with private car park operators to ensure the contracts we inherited from the previous Government are fairer."
The NSW Government has listened to the concerns of patients such as 14-year-old Gidon Goodman, who was inspired by his own experience as a long-term patient at Sydney Children’s Hospital to campaign for fairer parking fees.
"These changes will positively affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and will be life changing for those who have been the victims of hospital parking in the past," Gidon said.
"This policy will ensure fair and consistent concessions state wide in all hospitals."
The new concessions are expected to be implemented from July 2017, following negotiations with parking providers.
Other important changes to the policy include simplifying the concession application process in each local health district and better communication with patients and their families.
Each hospital would display signage in car parks advising patrons of concession rates available and how to apply for them.
This infrmation would also be available on all local health districts’ websites and in pamphlets made available in the hospitals.
NSW Health is also developing a smartphone app that will make it easier for hospital visitors and patients to access information about car parks at public hospitals.