News from Niagara Health in Niagara, Ontario
Posted April 2nd, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – To enhance safety and mitigate the financial burden placed on families during this time, all patients, staff and physicians now have free parking at all Niagara Health sites. This temporary measure will continue until further notice.
The decision to place a moratorium on parking fees:
- Will help increase safety at Niagara Health.
- Recognizes the financial hardship that many in the community are facing at this time.
- Supports the dedicated team at Niagara Health who are going above and beyond each day to provide extraordinary patient care during this pandemic.
A moratorium on parking fees will keep patients and visitors from having to obtain a physical parking ticket, avoiding the need to touch screens and buttons at payment kiosks that have been touched by others. This decision also supports physical distancing measures recommended by local, provincial and federal healthcare experts.
Many staff and physicians at Niagara Health pay for parking from their paycheques. Those deductions will no longer take place, consistent with this new policy.
“These are unprecedented times,” says Angela Zangari, Niagara Health Executive Vice President, Finance and Operations. “We are looking at every avenue to support the health and safety of our patients, staff and physicians during the pandemic. This temporary measure will help support safety and reduce some of the financial pressure on our patients and team members.”
A Brief Footnote from Doug Draper at Niagara At Large
First of all, good for Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals and related health care facilities for deciding to do this proactively, before Ontario’s Ford government, with some push from opposition parties in the province, announced that it was ordering free parking at all hospital sites across the province.
Now I want to say this.
And I am not blaming Niagara Health or any other hospital system across the province for this, because they have all been charging visitors higher and higher fees to park at hospitals as one more way to make up for the continued cuts senior levels of government, provincial and federal, have been making to health care funding.
It has become disgusting – and all citizens should feel ashamed – to hear story after story in recent years of people with loved ones dying in the hospital having to also worry about the high cost of parking their car, and sometimes even having their car towed away when they are in the hospital, holding a mortally ill loved one’s hand.
This would never be if it weren’t for those, particularly those at higher and the highest income levels, demanding more and more tax cuts which are inevitably going to mean governments making more cuts to vital services.
When we get through this pandemic catastrophe, there are many changes we should make in the way our system of government works, and in the way people are treated, socially and economically.
One of them is that hospital parking should be permanently, not temporarily free, and that those who can afford to pay more taxes, be made to pay them so we can properly fund health care and other vital services.
Doug Draper, Niagara at Large
Please watch the following segment from a CBC Marketplace program a few years ago, on the unjust cost to people of parking at hospitals by clicking on the screen below –
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