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Parking fines at hospitals – if only all visitors had someone like Laura

By Alexandra Craig - 11 August 2015 15

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Hearts were warmed around the world on Monday when a post from popular Facebook page Canberra Mums went viral. A mum had been in hospital with her nine-week-old baby and after being discharged she found a parking fine on her car.

She opened the envelope to find a note from ‘Laura’ who had paid the fine for her. This is a huge act of kindness and generosity that you certainly don’t see every day of the week. At the time this article was published the post had over 62,000 likes.

It got me thinking though, parking fines would be issued at local hospitals quite regularly and random acts of kindness like this wouldn’t be common. Plenty of people would be slapped with a big fine, which I imagine is the last thing you need when you’re leaving hospital.

Time restricted parking (most parks have a four-hour limit) is available at the Canberra Hospital to deter people who work nearby from parking there all day and taking up spots that need to be used by hospital visitors. This is fair enough.

However, if you go over that four hours by a minute, there’s a chance you’ll find a bright yellow envelope on your windshield.

This seems hugely unfair. If this time restricted parking is in the interests of Canberra’s hospital patients and visitors, why not bring in a system where you receive a ticket on entry and pay on departure – the same system shopping malls use – and legitimate visitors to the hospital can have their ticket validated on their way out so they don’t have to pay.

If other people working nearby want to park there, they can, but make the fees high so they don’t. Hospital wins, hospital visitors win.

I raised this issue on social media, as well as looking at the responses on the Canberra Mums post, and the response was mixed. A lot of people said that if you get a fine and you had genuine business at the hospital you can get the fine waived, whereas others said they tried to get their fine waived but had no luck.

There was also some confusion about who administrates the carparks, whether it was a private company or whether it was a government responsibility as it seems to vary from hospital to hospital, including hospitals in other states.

One person raised the point that if you’re in a paid car park you can top up your ticket via a smartphone app. I think this would have a huge benefit if it was introduced in hospital car parks, but it would depend on each person’s circumstance. If you were visiting a friend with a baby, sure, that would work very well. However if you are with someone who is at death’s door, topping up your parking wouldn’t be in your top 10 priorities.

If the system was genuinely put in place to benefit patients and visitors, I think it needs a few tweaks here and there. Unfortunately not everyone will have a Laura to look after them.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Parking fines at hospitals – if only all visitors had someone like Laura
Sandman 11:25 pm 13 Aug 15

I’m pretty sure that if you were to drive yourself into ER you could get out of the fine. On the same token, if you were to drive someone else in and was a smidge late getting back to remove the car, they would no doubt cut you some slack too. Most fines are more than likely issued to people who are just being lazy. No doubt there’s also the occasional ticket given to disabled people who couldn’t get a park in the disabled spot due to all those who abuse that system.

Yes, the system does need some changing, and as suggested earlier a simple Pay As You Leave similar to the malls would make the most sense. A simple patient validation system wouldn’t go astray either to allow genuine patients to get free parking. My mother has waited for 3 hours after tests to get a doctor to sign her prescriptions at Woden before. If she’d gone out to move the car she risks missing him and waiting even longer or not catching him before he goes home.

JC 9:41 am 13 Aug 15

Dondon said :

Evilomlap said :

Next time I’m racing to the hospital because I’m vomiting blood I’ll be sure to inform the staff about my parking arrangements before I get it seen to. My better half is the brains in our operation too.

I didn’t suggest that.

You park, you get the ticket.

You then reply on the ticket to get it quashed after the fact. The hospital provides you the admission record to prove it.

Not brain science but I guess you might need that to not figure it out. I’ll make sure that information gets sent out to all parking inspectors to walk the wards and ask people if it is there car before issuing tickets.

Seriously? Go back and read the post you replied to.

He made it clear he didn’t get fine, his post was about the surprise of not being fined.

Dondon 7:13 pm 12 Aug 15

Evilomlap said :

Next time I’m racing to the hospital because I’m vomiting blood I’ll be sure to inform the staff about my parking arrangements before I get it seen to. My better half is the brains in our operation too.

I didn’t suggest that.

You park, you get the ticket.

You then reply on the ticket to get it quashed after the fact. The hospital provides you the admission record to prove it.

Not brain science but I guess you might need that to not figure it out. I’ll make sure that information gets sent out to all parking inspectors to walk the wards and ask people if it is there car before issuing tickets.

Evilomlap 12:39 pm 12 Aug 15

Dondon said :

Evilomlap said :

I had no choice but to drive myself into Calvary one time, I expected to be there a few hours but ended up collapsing in the triage area and admitted for two days. Given what I had was potentially life-threatening I figured a fine was the least of my worries, but when I eventually got back to my car there was no parking ticket on it. I figured I’d been cut some slack because it’s a hospital. Maybe I was just overlooked?

So how was the inspector suppose to know what had happened.

Did you actually contact the council and get the ticket quashed. Same thing happened to my wife, she had the brains to realise it would happen and then contacted whoever it is on the ticket to get it revoked.

If you actually took the time to read my comment properly, you’ll see that there was no ticket to get ‘quashed’. But thanks for the insightful and well thought out response. Next time I’m racing to the hospital because I’m vomiting blood I’ll be sure to inform the staff about my parking arrangements before I get it seen to. My better half is the brains in our operation too.

cbrmale 10:26 am 12 Aug 15

poppy said :

I was parked in the 6 hour zone at Canberra Hospital for a week after being admitted to the ER for emergency surgery. I was surprised to not receive a fine.

I used to work at Canberra Hospital and if you tell clinical areas about your parking problems they will contact the hospital parking operations to make sure the car isn’t fined. A similar arrangement might be in place at Calvary, which polices its own parking.

And I agree about the comment about riding or walking to hospital.

Dondon 9:14 pm 11 Aug 15

Evilomlap said :

I had no choice but to drive myself into Calvary one time, I expected to be there a few hours but ended up collapsing in the triage area and admitted for two days. Given what I had was potentially life-threatening I figured a fine was the least of my worries, but when I eventually got back to my car there was no parking ticket on it. I figured I’d been cut some slack because it’s a hospital. Maybe I was just overlooked?

So how was the inspector suppose to know what had happened.

Did you actually contact the council and get the ticket quashed. Same thing happened to my wife, she had the brains to realise it would happen and then contacted whoever it is on the ticket to get it revoked.

JC 6:50 pm 11 Aug 15

sepi said :

only on riotact would someone suggest cycling or walking to hospital.

I think he was refering to those who would use the hospital carpark for free and go to work, say in Woden town centre.

MERC600 6:17 pm 11 Aug 15

sepi said :

only on riotact would someone suggest cycling or walking to hospital.

Good one Sepi

poppy 6:04 pm 11 Aug 15

I was parked in the 6 hour zone at Canberra Hospital for a week after being admitted to the ER for emergency surgery. I was surprised to not receive a fine.

sepi 4:59 pm 11 Aug 15

only on riotact would someone suggest cycling or walking to hospital.

Evilomlap 4:22 pm 11 Aug 15

I had no choice but to drive myself into Calvary one time, I expected to be there a few hours but ended up collapsing in the triage area and admitted for two days. Given what I had was potentially life-threatening I figured a fine was the least of my worries, but when I eventually got back to my car there was no parking ticket on it. I figured I’d been cut some slack because it’s a hospital. Maybe I was just overlooked?

TuggLife 3:33 pm 11 Aug 15

It’s a lovely gesture – good on Laura.

I am not so sure about the argument that parking should be free at hospital. The majority of people utilising the carpark aren’t at death’s door. Some are outpatients, and many are staff, visitors or contractors. I think it’s reasonable that some kind of system (time limits or paid parking, or both) is in place to ensure regular turnover of parking spaces, so access is fair for everyone. These measures also encourage utilisation of public transport and active transport, such as cycling or walking.

Ultimately, car parking is a problem of supply and demand. Car parks cost money to build and maintain, and it seems fairest that users help to pay for them (rather than having money diverted from other health infrastructure).

For what it’s worth, there is ample information on both the Canberra Hospital and Calvary Hospital websites about parking at the facility, including availability of overnight parking and how patients can apply for a time limit exemption for an extended stay. If free parking is your priority and not access to clinical services, parking is free and not time limited at Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Cooma and Yass Hospitals.

Alexandra Craig 3:23 pm 11 Aug 15

Dame Canberra said :

Such a lovely gesture. I know many regular hospital visitors who would benefit from a random act of kindness like Laura’s.

What’s frustrating is that the reason we need gestures like that is because too many cheapskates decided to take advantage of free hospital parking and then walk to work. Now we all pay – hospital visitors included. One small act of goodness doesn’t redeem a whole bunch of tossers who actively took car parks from people who needed them.

Definitely. I’ve never been in the position myself but I can only imagine how frustrating it would be to not be able to get a parking spot at a hospital, or to only be able to get one that’s a long walk away. 🙁

Holden Caulfield 2:24 pm 11 Aug 15

Go Laura!

Dame Canberra 1:10 pm 11 Aug 15

Such a lovely gesture. I know many regular hospital visitors who would benefit from a random act of kindness like Laura’s.

What’s frustrating is that the reason we need gestures like that is because too many cheapskates decided to take advantage of free hospital parking and then walk to work. Now we all pay – hospital visitors included. One small act of goodness doesn’t redeem a whole bunch of tossers who actively took car parks from people who needed them.

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