Gidon brings hospital parking fees down

Published: 20 March 2017

Gidon pictured during a hospital stay

NSW government acts on 14-year-old’s petition

Gidon pictured during a hospital stay
Image via change.org

A petition started by a 14-year-old NSW boy has pressured the state government into acting to end exorbitant hospital car parking fees under a policy that will save long-term patients up to $200 a week.

Gidon Goodman started collecting signatures eight months ago because his family was having to fork out thousands of dollars during his treatment for a rare blood disorder at Sydney Children's Hospital.

In September, he spoke to us on The Project. Over 70,000 people have now signed the petition.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced the government would re-negotiate with the owners of public hospital car parks in a move that will cost the state $11 million in consolidated revenue.

The changes, effective from July, will mean carers only pay 10 per cent of current fees and in some cases save $200 a week.

Access to concession parking rates will be broadened to apply to patients and their carers who require hospital treatment for more than one week or who attend hospital more than two times a week. Those suffering financial hardship will also be eligible.

Ms Berejiklian congratulated Gidon saying the petition showed that sometimes governments needed "a nudge" to act.

"We were aware of everything families were struggling through," she told reporters.

"But when you hear it from the mouth of a child going through it and really wanting to support his family who are supporting him, it does bring that back to home."

Under the changes, carers who visit a hospital more than twice a week will be able to apply for a concession card unlocking cheaper parking.

Gidon said he never imagined the petition would attract so much attention and was "unbelievably proud" of the result.

"It's going to help a massive amount of people, going into the hundreds of thousands," he said.

"I think it really shows democracy in action.

"It shows the government can listen to people when they speak out."

The government will need to negotiate with about 30 car park operators but Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he had "no doubt" they would cooperate.

Ms Berejilkian said the government intended for the change to become a permanent part of the health system.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said car parking problems constituted the third largest source of complaints he received.

He said he would have to see the "fine print" of the announcement, but hoped the policy would be fair and meet community expectations.

Gidon will join us on The Project again tonight.

with AAP
© 2017 AAP