Parking Charges in Scotland a “tax on the sick”


Parking Charges in Scotland a “tax on the sick”

Let’s see, you go to the hospital for a check up in the UK, its absolutely free, paid for by the government (of course it isn’t free, its paid for by you due to the confiscatory taxes charged by the government, but never mind).  However if you have to pay to park, its a tax on the sick.

The health service in Scotland has issued a fiat that sets the maximum that a hospital can charge for parking. ($6). It makes no difference if the hospital is sitting in the center of Glasgow or Edinburgh, or on an open heath in between, the price will be maxed at the same.

The Health officer said, of course, that parking should be free, but understood that sometimes charges were needed. If charges are needed at all, the question is how can you set the maximum?  It makes no sense. If a garage is located across the street from the hospital and charges $10 a day, and the hospital is charging $6. Where are people going to park?  Ok, for those of you who don’t understand, and probably work for the National Health Service in Scotland, I will splain.

If the hospital charges less than the surrounding area, folks from the surrounding area will flock to the hospital and park there. If you institute a validation program so people who visit the hospital get a lower rate, you will have a "underground" validation system spring up almost immediately.

In hospitals where parking was "free" there were tremendous parking issues, ambulances couldn’t even get in to the emergency room. The day that parking charges were instituted, there were plenty of parking spaces for employees and for patients.

I’m certain that many of the "sick" who visit hospitals in the UK actually are driven by friends who can drop them off and then pick them up later.  Virtually everyone has a cell phone and can call their friends when their appointment is over.  Arrangements can always be made for employees to park nearby and take a shuttle. The hospital, can if it wishes, make arrangements for these folks and pay for their parking. That would free up space for visitors and patients.

When I go to visit my doctor, I park in a lot that charges $2 and hour. However my doctor has cut a deal with the lot and my charge maxes out at $2. It seems that the vast majority of people who visit that particular doctor stay less than an hour.  My guess is that virtually every parking ticket costs the doctor Zip.Problem solved.

Since all the money in the National Health Service is funny money anyway (it all comes from the same source and bureaucrats simply move it around), what difference does it make if they validate and then charge back the hospital for the difference. That way the patient could pay a smaller amount and the hospital the rest. The hospital would then know just what parking costs and the legislature could argue over  parking charges and money moved from account to account.

In actuality, parking fees are probably the only outside income received at the hospital and they need that money for operating costs. 

This all boils down to the quote that "Parking should be Free."  Once people get that into their head, there is no turning back. If a person can afford a car, and afford $8 a gallon gasoline, and insurance, and road taxes, they can afford to pay to park it. Period.


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John Van Horn

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