Tag Archives: hospital parking charges

Fair parking charges for parents of premature babies!

 

 

untitled (4)I’ve taken action!

I’ve written to two hospital chief executives today, one from each of the hospitals where my boys have spent a total of 10 weeks in neonatal care.

My family have spent hundreds of pounds on hospital parking to be with our babies in NICU, other parents have gone through the same and this is backed up by evidence from Bliss and their “It’s not a game” report.

 

I do not believe that parents are visitors to the hospital; after all, visiting hours do not apply to them. They are mum and dad, offering vital care for their new born.

I do not believe that a mother should have to pay to park to feed her fragile baby in hospital or to deliver her expressed breast milk.

I do not believe a dad should have to worry about mounting parking fees, deciding whether he can spend another hour waiting for that precious skin-to-skin time.

Parents of premature babies are integral to their child’s care, and with the already very real and high cost of having a baby in hospital, reducing or scrapping parking fees for parents in NICU could make a real difference.

You can read my letters on the links below. You may even want to copy them to send to your local chief exec – take action today!

parking

Croydon University Hospital – Parking Charges Letter

Kings College Hospital – Parking Charges Letter

Parent or Visitor: The parking meter ticks on regardless

Recent hospital admissions with the nasty RSV winter virus has reminded me just how costly hospital stays can be. Not on the scale of finding yourself stranded with a premature baby in New York, our NHS is free after all at the point of use; but the cost of having a premature baby in the UK is very real and can continue long after neonatal care.

not a gameIn 2014 the Bliss It’s not a game: The very real costs of having a premature or sick baby report highlighted that parents of premature babies spend on average an extra £2,256 over the course of their hospital stay. As a parent of a premature baby I recognise these costs, but I also know that the costs do not end there. Babies born too soon are regularly followed up within neonatal clinics and are at increased risk of subsequent hospital admissions due to the complications of premature birth. For many, hospital visits, admissions and the associated costs become part of everyday life.

hospital parkingFor us a recent three night stay in our local hospital led to parking charges of more than £75. Add in a second child who had also been born prematurely and who the following week also required 3 nights in hospital (RSV is catching!) – the costs quickly mounted up. The hospital ‘visitor’ parking charges don’t take into account that you are not just another visitor. You are your child’s carer; comforting them, washing them, changing them, feeding them, helping them to take their medicine, up during the night to adjust their oxygen mask when the monitor alarm sounds – you are mum or dad. The ‘visitor’ visiting times don’t apply to you; as mum or dad you are there day and night, yet the parking meter ticks on regardless.

smallest thingsFor parents in neonatal care though the admission and parking costs can last weeks, sometimes months. Although some units now offer reduced parking rates for parents of babies in NICU, the costs still add up over a prolonged period of time and many units don’t advertise their reduced parking costs widely. Unlike having a child admitted to a children’s ward where you remain resident with them, parents of babies born too soon come and go (how we’d love to stay with them). You are still mum and dad though; attending to cares, establishing feeding, learning how to care for your new born however tiny they may be. This is a precious time, an important time to bond and one that should not be compromised because of the cost of parking. During our 8 week NICU stay I recall waiting til gone 5pm at which time the street parking became free and I would look forward to the weekends, when again the street parking was free. I remember finding out that I could apply to the council for a residents parking permit – the permit was in my new baby’s name as he’d stayed at the hospital so long and could now be classed as a local resident. I couldn’t work out if this was good news or not! 

(I had asked during our first week about parking charges, but had been told there was no support for parking costs. I only discovered this wasn’t the case weeks and hundreds of pounds later when another mother mentioned it in the expressing room).

bliss smallest thingsParking and the cost of hospital life should not restrict parents, for whom by the very nature of premature birth are going through an already stressful and worrying time, from seeing their babies. That is why I am supporting the Bliss campaign to tackle hospital parking charges and why I shall be writing to my local hospital trusts – watch this space for feedback!