Beaumont sees huge €1.1m profit from car charges
BEAUMONT Hospital received a massive €1.1m in income from its car park last year.
New figures reveal that the amount the hospital received increased from the previous year's figure of €979,376.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said that the charge per hour was €2.40 with a maximum charge of €9 per day.
Beaumont does not operate its own car park, but leases its operation to a third party for which it earns an annual rent.
The €1.1m is the amount that Beaumont received for renting the car park out, according to the spokesperson.
"All income generated goes towards patient care," she said.
Labour TD Sean Kenny sought information on the amount that was generated through parking charges at the hospital from the HSE.
He told the Herald that for people who have to visit the hospital regularly, "it's quite a charge".
He said that the charges can also mount up for people who are going in for some tests, who may not be sure how long it is going to take.
"They might anticipate going in for an hour or two and they might be there five or six hours, and the charges mount up," he said.
"There should be some scale of charges for people going into the hospital for a day procedure or some kind of treatment that might take hours," he said.
Mr Kenny said that some people may have to visit patients for extended periods at the hospital.
"It is something that comes up quite frequently," he said.
The TD added, however, that there are bus routes that go through Beaumont so people have the option, if it suits them, to use a bus to get to and from the hospital.
Mr Kenny said there is also a problem in relation to people who don't park in the hospital.
"Some people don't go into the hospital. They park their car in some of the roads adjacent to the hospital, and residents of those areas are complaining that people are parking their cars in estates beside the hospital in a bid to escape the charges," Deputy Kenny said.
"That is something that needs to be looked at as well," he said.
Meanwhile, the HSE said that the rent for the car park is "an important element" of the hospital's income, which is used for the provision of services for all patients.
Hospital charges for car parking vary nationwide. A minority of hospitals charge a flat rate of €3, but the daily fee can be as high as €40 in some cases.
Patients' parking bills can soar because of the length of time they have to wait in hospitals clinics or emergency departments.
Hospitals have previously defended the charges saying it allows them to control traffic, and prevent shoppers or outsiders from using spaces.
In addition, it allows unobstructed access for emergency vehicles.
However, patient groups said they pose a financial burden for patients who are going through treatment.