Cheapo Britain….Hospital car parks
Ever visited one of our gloriously efficient hospitals, either as a patient or visitor? If you have and you’ve driven there, then no doubt the hospital car park has ruined your day.
The bright, jolly black and yellow bar rises and you’re in. For the next 20 minutes you cruise around looking for a 5 foot wide space in a sea of metal. Of course, there are places, but only if you are a merc-driving consultant, they’ve got loads of room in their special enclave of executive tarmac.
You eventually find a space, park the car, see your Granny or have your lumps felt. Either way, you’re there because you have to be, not because you’re going shopping or whatever. You’re there because you’re seeing someone who is sick – or you yourself are sick.
So why charge people for the privilege of parking in hospitals anyway? It’s cheap, nasty and vindictive. It’s a tax on the sick and worried - and it’s a bloody disgrace.
Take a tip from me, I’ve never paid to get out of any hospital car park. I drive in, see who I have to, then nip round to the Administrators Office and explain to them that I’ve had to dash to the hospital as a matter of urgency. If they ask "Why?" – tell them to mind their own business. Quote patient confidentiality, then tell them in the rush to get to the hospital, you’ve come out without any money at all.
Before you can say ‘Health Executive’s BMW petrol fund’ – they’ll shove a car park exit token in your hand so you can drive out.
This country is unique in the way we just ‘accept stuff’. Hospital car park charges were brought in when they were given autonomy during the Thatcher era. We were told it was just for ‘administration’ purposes. Inevitably, ‘admin’ gave way to ‘cash-cow’ – charges rose rapidly and the rest is history. Pretty soon, to accompany the spiralling car park charges, exorbitant fees for watching bog standard TV programmes and breathtaking charges for phone calls made from wards followed.
If more people refused to pay, the whole ‘patient tax drive initiative’ would get binned. As a start, I suggest you all find out where your hospital admin’ office is as soon as possible….