I have heard it argued that parking should be free at hospitals.
While I understand this point of view, I have no problem with the concept of pay parking at hospitals in general, if consideration is given for obvious situations that will be encountered. The arrangements for pay parking at Peace Arch Hospital, however, are unjust in the extreme – bordering on immoral.
It is typical when attending for a hospital appointment that a patient has neither knowledge of nor control over the time that they will be in the building. Nevertheless, upon arriving at the parking lot, they are required to select a block of time, upon expiry of which they will be subject to a substantial fine.
Therefore, unless they are lucky enough to have guessed the time correctly, they will be required to overpay for parking. This will either be a modest amount, in the event they overestimated, or a considerable amount, if they underestimated.
Not only will they be overcharged, they will be subjected to unnecessary stress at a time they are vulnerable.
This happened to my wife last week. She was required to undergo a test that she expected would not take more than an hour. To cover her uncertainty, she prepaid for two.
As it happened, she was required to wait for further testing but was not in a position to return to the parking lot to extend her time. Fortunately I was at home and she was able to call me to make a special trip to the hospital to extend her time.
While I was doing this I was asked by a very frail, much older lady to assist her with the parking machine, and she was bothered that she didn’t know how long she was going to be and therefore how much time to buy.
This is totally unnecessary with today’s technology. Surely it should be possible to register at the machine upon arrival and then revisit the machine to confirm departure. This would result in patients paying the right amount for the duration of their stay – similar to the system at Vancouver airport and elsewhere.
This present practice should not be permitted, particularly since the technical fix would simply require a rewrite of system software.
I am not opposed to government contracting out non-core services, however they have a responsibility to assure the public interest in the delivery of contracted-out services.
Bob Askew, Surrey