The fight to keep hospital parking free is on

Pay to park: An artist's impression of the proposed seven-storey car park at Campbelltown Hospital, which will not be free. Picture: NSW Health
Pay to park: An artist's impression of the proposed seven-storey car park at Campbelltown Hospital, which will not be free. Picture: NSW Health

Blood and phlegm won’t be the only thing those visiting Campbelltown Hospital will have to cough up.

Campbelltown and Camden Hospital general manager Alison Derrett has confirmed that a proposed seven-storey car park at the region’s biggest hospital will not be free.

However, local Labor MPs have vowed to fight the decision.

Plans for the 800 car space car park, which will be located on the eastern side of the site, have been officially lodged with Campbelltown Council – as revealed by the Advertiser last week.

Ms Derrett said “fees will be implemented in line with the NSW Health policies”.

The state government's hospital car parking fees policy. Picture: NSW Health

The state government's hospital car parking fees policy. Picture: NSW Health

Campbelltown MP Greg Warren (Labor) said he was unaware of the changes until informed by the Advertiser and has vowed to fight any plan to introduce paid parking at the hospital.

“They (NSW Health) have had no consultation with me – I have heard nothing at all,” he said.

“If they had informed me I would have made representations to the Health Minister (Brad Hazzard).

“This needs to be given further consideration.

“This will have a financially adverse impact on many people who can’t afford it.

“I want an iron clad guarantee that those with chronic illnesses that require long-term treatment and required visits, will have access to the same provisions in place at hospitals where they don’t have to pay.”

Mr Warren said he would contact Mr Hazzard in an effort to get the decision reversed.

Macquarie Fields MP Anoulack Chanthivong (Labor) also said he had not been informed of the paid parking plan until contacted by the Advertiser.

He said it was particularly surprising as he met with hospital administration only two weeks ago.

“They can spend more than $2.5 billion upgrading three stadiums but they want our community to pay for parking? It’s totally unfair,” he said.

Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell (Liberal) admitted he would “prefer” that parking at the hospital remained free, however, with $632 million worth of upgrades occurring at the hospital, “the money needed to come from somewhere”.

“I do understand the argument for free parking .., but any profit (from the car park) will go back into the health (system),” he said.

Parking is hard to come by at Campbelltown Hospital.

Parking is hard to come by at Campbelltown Hospital.

Camden MP Chris Patterson (Liberal) was contacted for comment but could not be reached.

It is unclear what percentage of revenue would go back into the health system and what percentage would remain in the coffers of the private company who owned the car park.

Nevertheless, Campbelltown Hospital paediatrician and former Macquarie Field MP, Dr Andrew McDonald, made it crystal clear about what he thought of the plan and companies who own car parks at hospitals.

“Those companies are a bunch of shysters,” he said.

“They rip off locals and don’t make allowances for people with health difficulties.

“Parking companies rip off the public health system.”

Campbelltown mayor George Brtcevic (Labor) said there was not much the council could do, but he would make sure the state government was well aware of the council’s opposition.

“It’s a positive we are getting more parking but I’m against charging people,” he said.

“People are there for a reason – they’re either visiting someone or getting treatment. This would just be hitting people in their biggest time of need.”

Macarthur MP Dr Michael Freelander (Labor) said it would add an unnecessary stress on people who wanted to visit a sick loved one.

“It’s quite a long average stay at Campbelltown Hospital for adult patients so if you wanted to visit an elderly resident, it’s going to cost you quite a lot,” he said.