My Scottish followers may have seen the news as it has caused a lot of uproar even planned boycotts of using the shops based in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and also the canteen. The First Minister has also raised concerns and been involved voicing her opinion.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about is that the PFI Hospital in Edinburgh also known as the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary which is run by consort have decided to more than double the charges for parking in the Consort run carparks which are situated around the hospital. They have also decided to raise the cost of the parking permit which has more than 500 staff on a waiting list for one. With many citing that there is a park and ride near the hospital which staff can park for free in the car park and then get the bus to the hospital. This is reasonable but what happens when your commute is already over a hour and you have to drive past your place of work a further few miles up the road, park, wait on a bus and then get it into work which could prove more difficult on a saturday and sunday when buses run infrequently and also those night shift workers. What are they to do.
For myself I am not effected as badly as some but this still effects me as the price of the parking permit is rising. Despite being reliant on my car because of my breathing. My asthma is set off by smoke and strong smells- you tell me the last time you saw a bus to with no one smoking in it- therefore making buses unusable for me unless I want to run the risk of exposing myself to smoke, which runs the risk of going to hospital and like new year 2 years ago an intensive care stay all because I was exposed to someone smoking.
I can only work part time because of my breathing and therefore earn less meaning that a higher proportion of my wage is going to go on my parking permit and this rise will not be in correlation to the 1% pay rise NHS staff are getting as just now for more than 7 hours parking the rise is 114% approx. The other issue which does irk me is that I am a blue badge holder yet I need to pay for my parking to a private firm just to be able to work. I don’t object to paying some but when doing all you can to keep healthy and when you rely on your car more and more as you have more bad days than good days the paying for parking just to do my job makes you wonder if working is actually worth while.
This is what effects me but for patients. As a patient which I also am I send a lot of time in hospital and rely on my family to bring me food due to allergies which are not catered for by the PFI run hospital so I rely on people coming in daily to bring me food. This rise in price of parking for them is going to have a huge effect and may act my own recovery if they cannot come in everyday. Unless the hospital are going to start catering for those with food allergies (an area which is of huge weakness and does not make easy for patients unlike the other non PFI hospital in Edinburgh which goes above and beyond for patient who have a particular diet due to allergies and even has its own diet kitchen) and man relatives don’t have to come in every day and have to pay extortionate amounts on parking which many families can’t afford. Given the choice I know which hospital I would prefer to be admitted to.
Many patients as well have to attend several clinic appointments. For example transplant patients who require weekly bloods and cannot take public transport due to be immunosuppressed are having their healthcare hampered as they will have to fork out costs just to stay healthy. As part of my job I also have to get patients up to see me at short notice so can’t get them transport etc so am asking them to pay these bigger costs just for the good of their heath.
Some may argue and say to get hospital transport but when you give a reason for example if I said to them I can’t get the bus incase of smoke they are going to laugh and refuse it. In my opinion either consort having less profit and thinking of patients for once or the NHS actually having to pay more for example if I got the bus and someone was smoking at the bus stop the NHS would then be paying for an ambulance, an A and E stay, potential need for an ICU bed for a few days, then potentially a week stay on a respiratory ward and then maybe a month off work. Where is this benefitting the NHS or is it just lining the pockets of Consort which is somewhat ironic.
I must say i hope the First Minister steps in or at least the health secretary does. I guess I am lucky in that I can within reason choose which hospital I am admitted to (because lets face it there will be more missions unless by some miracle a cure for asthma is found overnight), but there are still hundreds if not thousand of people who are going to be having to make a choice between paying parking charges and their health.
You can read more about this issue below:
First Ministers Slams parking charges