Relief plea for cancer patients’ car parking pain

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Car parking problems for cancer patients are under review after a Barwon Health submission to City Hall.

The submission proposed parking fine exemptions for patients whose appointments went overtime and exceeded two hours, Barwon Health told the Geelong Indy.

Staff would apply for the exemptions on behalf of patients.

Parking around Geelong’s Andrew Love Cancer Centre was an “ongoing issue” for patients, staff and visitors, Barwon Health said.

The proposal follows a Cancer Council Victoria study that found parking issues were “adding burden to cancer patients” around the state. The Andrew Love centre participated in the study.

Cancer After Care Group Geelong president Libby Bate said she sometimes circled the block twice looking for a park when visiting the centre.

“Some days it’s terrible,“ Ms Bate said.

“The worst aspect is you often don’t know how long you’re going to be. An hour can turn out much longer because of a hold-up.

“I’d hate to think how difficult it would be for patients. Often there might be 20 days of treatment, with patients coming in five days a week.”

Ms Bate said nearby metred parking was also confusing.

“There are some two-hour spots that suddenly change to one hour only and there are four-hour spots that change timeframes fairly frequently in the same parking bay. You need to have really have your wits about you.”

A Barwon Health spokesperson said finding parks could be an additional worry for patients and loved ones.

“Some circumstances” also made monitoring parking meters difficult for patients, the spokesperson said.

Acting mayor Bruce Harwood said council was considering Barwon Health’s proposal.

“Council is working closely with Barwon Health to identify a means for clients attending the renal unit and Andrew Love to access parking in exceptional circumstances without the risk of receiving an infringement notice,” he said.

The cancer council report said the parking pressures were forcing doctors to cut appointments short and nurses to move patients’ cars so they could avoid fines.

Barwon Health staff confirmed to the Indy that Andrew Love nurses were moving patients’ cars.

The Cancer Council said parking costs were also a concern.

“A breast cancer patient who undergoes uncomplicated treatment is estimated to spend more than $1100 in parking fees each year,” the report said.

“Patients at one hospital were faced with paying $75 to park for a day while undergoing treatment, as other parking options were frequently exhausted.”

Cancer Council chief Todd Harper said undergoing treatment was “tough enough“ already without the financial burden.

Originally published at Geelong Independent.

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About Alana Mitchelson

Alana Mitchelson is a journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @AlanaMitchelson.

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