The Canadian Medical Association Journal has tapped into a deep sense of outrage in a somewhat unlikely way with an editorial in its current issue that suggests hospitals should abolish parking fees. The editorial, by Rajendra Kale, the interim editor-in-chief and a neurologist at an Ottawa hospital, says that parking fees at hospitals are a barrier to health care, put an added stress on patients and their families and should be discontinued.
"This is parking-centred health care, which is not compatible with patient-centred health care." [it said.]
The editorial was dismissed by Tom Closson, the CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association, who called it a waste of space in the magazine. He was quoted in a story from Canadian Press.
If hospitals scrapped parking fees they would have to make up the funds some other way or cut services, said Closson, who previously ran several large hospitals, including Toronto's University Health Network and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Or they would have to ask the provincial government for more funds, he said, predicting that wouldn't fly at a time when the province is already running a deficit.The CP story provoked a blizzard of comments -- for instance personal anecdotes about being fined for overstaying a meter while being at a sick family member's bedside.