Durban - PATIENTS and visitors at the Life Chatsmed Garden Hospital in Chatsworth will have to pay for parking in April.
The Life Healthcare Group recently introduced paid parking at its facilities nationally as an added security measure.
Pay meters have already been installed at Life Entabeni Hospital in Glenwood.
Visitors and patients are expected to pay R7 for the first hour, with a R1 increase per hour up to 4hours.
The group explained that the new system was relevant given the recent incidents of crime in the hospital parking - where staff and visitors’ vehicles were stolen.
It also expected the new system to assist with curbing traffic congestion.
But those who go to the hospital are not happy.
Jay Pillay, 71, of Croftdene, said he was a pensioner and could not afford the tariffs. He visits an ENT specialist a few times a year.
“This is wrong. The hospital is trying to make more money from its patients and their families. We already pay thousands of rand to the medical aid and now we have to deal with this. It is not fair.
“Crime is a concern and so is traffic congestion. But why charge people? Many companies offer parking to their clients and you don’t need to pay. Why can’t the Life Group do the same?”
Tiny Kistan, 65, of Croftdene, added: “It is unfair for it to impose this system on patients and visitors. It is using crime and traffic congestion as an excuse to further exploit people. If crime is so bad, why not beef up security?”
Kistan said hospitals made millions of rand from medical aids, so the parking should be free.
“I have had a few operations at the hospital. I also go for check-ups. Every time I am admitted or go for a consultation, I cannot be expected to pay for parking.”
Dhayalan Moodley, a businessman of Mobeni Heights, said: “I am shocked and concerned. With the current state of affairs, we have economic stagnation and job losses, the Life Healthcare board comes up with the idea of pay parking. It is time to stop milking our people. To me, this is pure arrogance and a lack of respect for our people.
“Complaining and doing nothing never works. It is time for us to address the issue. Action is required now. Protest action seems the most viable option. This will send the message to think before introducing pay parking.”
Greg Swale, the regional manager at Life Healthcare, said the decision to introduce paid parking was taken last year due to traffic flow and security.
“We understand that this may create an initial inconvenience. However, we believe this new solution will provide a better overall parking experience at the hospital. The care of our patients, doctors and employees remain our priority.”
Swale said that in addition to Life Chatsmed Garden Hospital, pay parking would also be introduced at Life Westville Hospital in April.
“Life Crompton Hospital, Life Hilton Private Hospital, Life Mount Edgecombe Hospital, Life Empangeni Private Hospital is still to be finalised.”