Gidon Goodman, 13, Sydney, made waves in the media last week after initiating an online petition calling for parking rates in NSW hospitals to be independently regulated.
The change.org petition has received 61,792 signatures to date.
Gidon has been in and out of hospital since nine months of age, undergoing regular medical infusions after being diagnosed with the rare genetic blood disorder, Gaucher’s disease.
Gidon requires frequent visits to the Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick in order to access life-saving treatment for the disease.
Beyond the obvious social and economic costs of living with a life-threatening illness, Gidon’s family has spent more than $10,000 in parking fees, with a 2.5 hour cark park at the Children’s Hospital incurring $28.
Parking at the hospital is unregulated and currently costs more than the notoriously expensive Bondi Beach Parking, Sydney’s Domestic Airport parking and many valet services.
Gidon fears people may be forced to stop visiting sick family members and friends in hospital due to the crippling parking costs.
“They should be rewarded for visiting sick people, not slapped with a parking fee,” Gidon told ABC News.
The Moriah College student has recommended that a regulating agency, such as the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunary, should be assigned the task of setting capped rates for hospital parking.
“There are people who actually are spending more on hospital parking than their medication. And if you’re not lucky, like we are, it can be a lot, figures like $10,000,” Gidon said.
NSW Health Minister, The Hon. Jillian Skinner MP has since reiterated the government is steadfastly committed to offering affordable car parking for all patients and their families at public hospitals.
This is not the first time that the government has been called upon to act on the spiralling costs of hospital parking.
Earlier this year, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) joined forces with the Cancer Council (CC) in a bid to address the same issue.
Last year, the Victorian Government commissioned a review of hospital parking after a CC report revealed some patients had to fork out more than $1,100 a year in parking costs.
In NSW alone, the total amount spent on parking fees at the State’s hospitals in 2015 amounted to a purse crippling $34 million.
With vulnerable patients left with few other options than to cop the extortionate hospital parking rates, the onus is on the State Government to mitigate the extreme financial burden faced by families each time they are required to visit hospital.
aHUS patients and families, we welcome your views on the topic.
To sign the petition, visit http://chn.ge/2cMLCYg.