$7.5 million to improve hospital car parking access for patients, carers and families

The State Government will invest up to $7.5 million over the next four years to make an extra 100,000 free and discounted car parking spaces available at public hospitals each year, as part of a four-point plan to improve hospital car parking access across Queensland.

“I know the cost of car parking is a real concern for many patients, carers and their families,” Health Minister Cameron Dick said today.

“That’s why the State Government has developed a four-point plan to help improve access to car parking at public hospitals in Queensland.”

The State Government will take the following actions as part of its Public Hospital Car Parking Action Plan:

Car parking concessions policies will be developed for all Hospital and Health Services where paid parking applies.

The number of concessional car parking spaces available at Queensland public hospitals will be increased.

The Government will continue to be involved in the development of future public hospital car parks.

New car parking options will be considered for the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

Car parking concessions polices to be developed across Queensland

Mr Dick said while increasing the number of concessional car parks was a significant component of a planned approach to managing car parking at Queensland hospitals, the approach included rolling out a new patient and carer car parking concessions policy across the state.

As the first step of the action plan all Hospital and Health Services (HHSs) have been directed to develop a series of policies, specific to each hospital with paid parking, to address car parking costs.

The directive requires Hospital and Health Services to:

develop a local Hospital Car Parking Concessions Policy for each hospital it administers

define eligible patients and/or outline eligibility criteria

outline the types of concession passes and spaces available, and

clearly state car parking concession rates for the hospital.

All Hospital and Health Services will be required to develop and publish their local hospital car parking concessions policy by 1 October this year, and report on them annually.

The development timeframe for the new hospital car parking concessions policies will allow Hospital and Health Services to consult on their new local policies, including with the private parking providers who operate car parks.

As a minimum, car parking concessions will be made available by each Hospital and Health Service to eligible patients and their carers in the following categories:

Patients and carers experiencing financial hardship (which may include government concession card holders)

Patients and carers who need to attend hospital for an extended period of time

Patients and carers who are required to attend hospital frequently, and

Patients and carers with special needs who require assistance.

“At present, car parking concessions are provided by individual Hospital and Health Services in a number of different ways, best suited to meeting local needs and circumstances,” Mr Dick said.

“It might involve, for example, providing discounted parking one day a week over a specific period, or a free one-off park, cheaper parking over the course of a week, or a combination of measures.

“I want to ensure we provide greater consistency in how we deliver car parking concessions across Queensland, particularly how we communicate the availability of those concessions to patients, their family members and carers,” Mr Dick said.

Number of concessional car parking spaces to be increased

The State Government will commit up to $7.5 million over the next four years to make available a further 100,000 free and discounted car parking spaces each year at Queensland public hospitals.

“Increasing the number of concessional car parking spaces means that many more people and families in need will have access to accessible and affordable car parking,” Mr Dick said.

“This will mean a little less stress for patients and their families, especially those who find themselves burdened financially by the costs of car parking.”

Mr Dick said the additional discounted car parking spaces would be available from 1 October once the car parking concessions policies had been developed across Queensland.

“We will work closely with Hospital and Health Services to make sure the additional funding is distributed fairly.

“I want to ensure more concessions are available for those patients and carers who are either experiencing financial hardship, attending hospital for an extended period of time, need to attend hospital frequently or have special needs and require assistance – no matter where they live in Queensland,” Mr Dick said

“All of our work in developing consistent policies and increasing the availability of concessional car parking spaces requires a balancing act.

“We need to spend as much of our budget as we can on delivering frontline healthcare, particularly as demand for public health services continues to grow, but I’m mindful that these car parking costs can have a real impact on some families.

“We want to make sure as many eligible patients and their carers receive some form of concession.”

State Government to continue to be involved in developing car parking infrastructure

“Since our election in 2015, the top priority of the Palaszczuk Labor Government has been the restoration of front-line services,” Mr Dick said.

“But that hasn’t stopped us from working to expand access to parking at Queensland Health facilities,” he said.

At Logan and Caboolture hospitals, the Government has funded temporary ground-level car parking solutions.

At Logan Hospital, the Government is delivering an additional 500 car parks while at Caboolture Hospital work has commenced on providing an extra 200 car parks.

In both cases, these solutions will also help with the future expansion of both hospitals.

At Rockhampton Hospital, Queensland Health has awarded a contract for the design and construction of the nearly 600 space multi-storey carpark. The Rockhampton Hospital carpark will be owned and operated by the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service.

The $1.1 billion Herston Quarter redevelopment provides for expanded car parking capacity to serve the hospital and future occupants at that site.

The Government is also considering options to expand car park availability at The Prince Charles Hospital,including a proposal from the current operator under the Queensland Treasury’s Market-Led Proposals program.

“We are overseeing the successful expansion car parking at public hospitals during our term in government,” Mr Dick said.

“And we will continue to be involved in facilitating the development of future car parks at public hospitals,” he said.

Our preferred approach for new multi-storey hospital carparks is to develop a Government Portfolio Model, financed by the Queensland Treasury Corporation.

“However, private public partnerships will be retained as an option for circumstances where it can deliver a better outcome, for example, when we are developing a large ‘greenfield’ hospital site,” Mr Dick said.

“Whether they are subject to public private partnership arrangements or are part of a Government-owned portfolio, all future carpark proposals will be required to factor in the provision of concessional parking as part of their business planning,” he said.

New car parking options to be considered for Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital

Mr Dick also announced an immediate start to business case planning for possible options to develop new car parks to help service Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.

Mr Dick said Queensland Health had begun initial work investigating options for improved accessibility, including more car parking, at Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane. This work will take up to 12 months.

“This will be very challenging work, as there are no easy or immediate answers to increasing car parking at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital precinct or in the immediate vicinity of the hospital,” Mr Dick said.

“The area around the hospital is heavily and extensively developed. Potential infrastructure options could be prohibitively expensive, but I have asked Queensland Health to work with the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital on potential options to see what can be achieved.”

Health Consumers Queensland Chief Executive Melissa Fox has welcomed the Government’s announcement.

“We are pleased that the directive requires each hospital to consult with consumer groups, patients and carers in creating a local Hospital Car Parking Concessions Policy aimed at ensuring that those in need can easily access discounted or free parking,” Ms Fox said.

“Costs of parking for health consumers can be a significant and unexpected out-of- pocket expense for health consumers and their families.

“This is particularly the case where the need to visit a hospital is frequent and for several hours at a time.

“Anything that makes concessions to patients and visitors more available can only ease that burden at what can be an emotionally difficult time for any family,” Ms Fox said

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