Fewer than half of cancer treatment centres and hospitals in NSW provide dedicated parking for cancer patients, leaving many to face high costs in parking fees or having to walk long distances to treatment buildings.
The Cancer Council NSW and The University of Newcastle report, which surveyed 565 NSW cancer patients and 122 staff from 44 different cancer centres, found that difficulty with car parking facilities was the biggest practical problem for cancer patients when going through treatment.
The patient survey showed that car parking was the biggest unmet practical need among patients: it was higher than the need for counselling, child-minding, respite care for carers, home nursing, home cleaning and gardening. One in six patients reported a moderate or high level of unmet need for access to easy car parking at the hospital or clinic during the year following their cancer diagnosis. Patients living in urban and regional areas had similar levels of unmet need for easy access to car parking.
Of the cancer treatment centres surveyed, 49 per cent had dedicated parking but many centres that did provide specific parking arrangements failed to inform patients, causing them unnecessary costs and stress.
Additionally of the 61 per cent of centres that provided subsided parking, 86 per cent of staff surveyed said patients were not informed about it, meaning patients could not take advantage of the arrangement.
Anita Tang, Manager of Policy and Advocacy at Cancer Council NSW said that the hospital parking system for cancer patients is a disjointed mess, which causes unnecessary stress and financial hardship.
"It's clear that the current car parking situation for cancer patients needs to be addressed in hospital and treatment centres. We know that this issue of car parking weighs heavily on the mind and the pocket of people facing treatment.
"At some hospitals, parking is so difficult that patients have to be dropped off and left alone at the entrance, while their driver goes some distance to find a spot.
"Frustratingly, even when hospitals have got concessions or parking facilities in place, they are not telling patients about them."
"Patients should be informed of car parking facilities and not hit with parking costs when they attend hospital for life-saving treatment.
"Cancer Council NSW is calling on all Local Health Districts to provide dedicated free car parking for cancer patients, and also make sure that patients are informed about these arrangements. Many patients will already be stressed out from the ongoing treatment and car parking should be the last thing they have to worry about."
Patients who are worried about the cost or difficulty of car parking are advised to call Cancer Council NSW Helpline on 13 11 20.What do you think? There's a lot of people out there who could do with similar help. To have your say join in on the BackChat.
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