Letter: Hospital parking tickets punish patients

Dear Editor,

I refer to the letter to the editor from Tom O’Neil, Langley Meadows pointing out the fact that anyone visiting the Emergency Department at Langley Memorial Hospital must pay a ghastly $4.25 per hour to park outside the Emergency Department entrance [Hospital ER parking fees diabolical, July 2, Langley Advance].

I, and no doubt many others, have had this ridiculous experience when attempting to procure expedient and possibly life-threatening care at our hospital.

Earlier this year, I drove to LMH to receive urgent care and, having to leave my home expediently, I did not have cash or a credit card with which to pay for parking outside the ER.

I exited the ER following treatment to find a ticket on my car displaying a fine of $50 or $80 if the ticket was not paid within so many days.

A second visit some weeks later, again requiring immediate attention, was rewarded with another ticket (I had enough cash to pay for the initial hour and I did not at that time own a credit card). The parking attendant argued he could not retract the ticket no matter what the reason was for the person parking there, once it was issued.

Parking for easy and rapid access to the ER should be free of charge. 

When the patient reports in to the ER he could give his licence number which could then be passed on to the lot attendant. This would eliminate those who had parked there to use another part of the hospital with the intention of procuring free parking.

Peace Arch Hospital has a number of no charge parking spots for those using the Emergency department with maximum times posted clearly.

Hospitals receive a good portion of the parking fees received yearly and this money is used to provide much needed equipment. That’s a plus but not a solution.

Hospital staff throw up their hands when rebuked by irate patients saying, “the hospital doesn’t look after the parking…it’s run by ImPark!”.

Someone must take the responsibility for providing parking at no charge for patients in need. The problem will persists if nothing is done to rectify this situation and the private parking companies will continue to reap the monitory benefits at the taxpayers’ expense.

Peter Dowler, Langley 

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