Urgent work to progress capping of carpark charges in hospitals required

Urgent work is needed to progress the Programme for Government’s provision for the capping of carpark charges in hospitals, a Fine Gael Minister of State has said.

Minister Josepha Madigan said the Government must ensure there are no further unnecessary burdens borne by people undergoing potentially lifesaving treatments.

Minister Madigan was speaking on foot of yesterday’s launch of the European Commission’s EU Beating Cancer Plan, a political commitment aiming to leave no stone unturned to take action against this deadly disease.

“Today, on World Cancer Day, I am calling for urgent work to progress the Programme for Government’s provision for the capping of carpark charges in hospitals.

“For many patients undergoing chemotherapy, a typical hospital visit could last a number of hours. I am also aware of elderly patients using public transport simply because they are unable to afford the massive build-up of these charges.

“The Programme for Government commits to continuing the rollout of the National Cancer Strategy (2017-2026). This focuses heavily on preventing cancer across our population, diagnosing cancer early, providing optimal care to patients and maximising their quality of life.

“I welcome that €12 million was allocated specifically for the restoration of cancer services in the context of COVID-19 in Budget 2021. Funding of €20m has been allocated for the continued implementation of the National Cancer Strategy this year.

“However, I believe that the State can go further. The COVID-19 pandemic and the rapid progress on developing effective vaccines has shown us that when we pool our efforts and resources, it is possible to make unprecedented progress.

“Cancer is a cruel and heartless disease that has affected the vast majority of families in Ireland – including my own. I have seen first-hand the trauma and devastation that cancer causes to a patient – and I believe that the State should be doing everything in its power to ensure that no further unnecessary burdens are borne by those undergoing potentially lifesaving treatments.

“This pandemic has caused disruption right across our society and health service. Unfortunately, we have seen a dramatic reduction of people presenting themselves at cancer diagnostic services and Cancer Rapid Access Clinics.

“If you or anybody that you know has any concerns about cancer, please contact your GP as soon as possible. Cancer diagnostic and treatment services are open and operational during this pandemic. The fight of patients is our fight too.”