Have you ever noticed the similarities between driving on to the parking lot at a shopping mall and a hospital? They both have multiple entry points for vehicles. They both contain large numbers of parking stalls. They both feature an impressively large building on the property. They both welcome everyone.
Even though they have much in common, the reasons for going to these places are vastly different. There could be thousands of perfectly good excuses to visit the mall. For those arriving at a hospital, your reason for being there had better not exceed two; you’re in need of medical attention or you’re there to support someone who is. The problem is that hospitals do not discriminate who can use the parking facilities. This is yet another reason why hospital pay parking must be reformed; anyone can park at a hospital for any reason, for any length of time, as long as they pay the parking fees. Considering our Health Authorities are willing to blow $100,000 per parking stall, using taxpayer’s money of course, we had better start treating these parking facilities like an exclusive club. Members of this club are the aforementioned patients and their supporters. This group should be privileged with free, unfettered access to the hospital’s parking facilities during their stay. Everyone else needs to be keenly aware that severe financial penalties await should they decide to park their vehicle on hospital property.
In the letter from Fraser Health posted on the Propaganda page, the Health Authority claims it offers parking that is based on the “prevailing market rates within the city”. Is this some kind of business strategy to attract the general public to park at our hospitals, as if we’re competing with other nearby lots? In proper context, it’s more likely the prevailing market rates are being touted to prove the charges are fair and reasonable and therefore justified. However it underscores the unnerving suggestion that our Health Authorities regard patients and their supporters; those who are likely the vast majority of users of these parking spots, as just another opportunity to earn a few bucks while they’re at their weakest. Exploitation at it’s finest hour. This policy lacks the much needed categorization of those who have a valid reason to be at a hospital and those who do not.
There are too many similarities between shopping mall and hospital parking lots. We need new rules and a complete rebranding of who hospital parking facilities are meant for. The end result should be to welcome patients and their supporters while scaring away everyone else.