Cancer patients, who need chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and patients receiving renal dialysis are to be exempt from hospital car parking fees in Northern Ireland, health minister for Northern Ireland Michael McGimpsey has announced. The next of kin and partners of patients in ICU or high-dependency units will also receive free car parking.
However Mr McGimpsey said other charging policy decisions should be made locally. ‘'While I have specified which patients and visitors should not be charged, there are other situations in which people may have to visit hospital frequently or for lengthy periods and run up significant charges. I would expect trusts to consider these situations carefully and exempt people from charges where appropriate,’ he added.
The announcement is the result of a regional review of car parking at hospital sites sparked by a Northern Ireland Assembly debate on 19 June about car parking problems at Daisy Hill Hospital, Newry.
The aim of the review was to establish a consistent car-parking policy across all health and social care trusts.