Anger has erupted among patients, their families and carers over price hikes for carparking at Sunshine Hospital.
Western Health increased its carparking rates by between 1.35 per cent and almost 5 per cent on July 1.
A Western Health spokeswoman said the “adjusted” prices were in line with the consumer price index (CPI). Yet inflation figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in April reveal the CPI, the key measure of inflation, rose 2.1 per cent in the 12 months to March 30.
St Albans resident Judy Ingram said she was “outraged” the hospital’s already expensive carparking fees had risen. Ms Ingram was carer for her father, Francis, for 12 years until he died earlier this year.
Ms Ingram was among a host of people who took to social media to condemn the hikes.
She said she would prefer not to calculate how much she had spent on parking her car at the hospital over the years, but guessed the total would be “humongous”.
“I’d hate to add up how much we’ve spent – it would be thousands,” she said. “And we were given a discount for having a pensioner’s card – but it’s still a lot of money.
“It just seems another way to rip you off when you really have no choice when you’re in a rush to get to emergency and you’re fragile.”
Western Health health services divisional director Christine Neumann said all carparking revenue was used to support the hospital, as well as covering the costs of the Wilson-managed carpark and its infrastructure.
“We are about to make a multimillion dollar investment to develop an 820-space carpark at Sunshine Hospital and the costs associated with this development will be serviced by carparking fees,” she said.
“It should be noted that there are several commercial carparking operators directly adjacent to our hospital boundaries at Sunshine Hospital and we have no influence over their rates.”
Parking is free at Sunshine Hospital for visits under half an hour, as well as for radiotherapy patients, chaplains and volunteers.
Parking rates for between one-to-two hours are $4 more expensive at Northern and Box Hill hospitals, and $2 more expensive at Austin Hospital compared to Sunshine Hospital.
However, it costs $5 to park all day at Werribee Mercy Hospital compared to $18.50 at Sunshine Hospital.