Mt Helena mother of critically ill child disgusted at Perth Children’s Hospital parking fees

Melissa Gibson has a 8yo son Toby with Cystic Fibrosis who has to go to Perth Children's Hospital.
Melissa Gibson has a 8yo son Toby with Cystic Fibrosis who has to go to Perth Children's Hospital.

THE mother of a critically ill child is “disgusted” with the price of parking at Perth Children’s Hospital (PCH) and says Capella Capital is making money off “sick and dying” children.

Melissa Gibson, whose eight-year-old son Toby has cystic fibrosis and attends PCH for weekly appointments, said the “exorbitant” parking fees were putting unnecessary strain on families.

“At Princess Margaret Hospital you could get parking for 60c an hour in two of the car parks, that wasn’t so bad, at PCH that’s no longer an option so no matter what, we’re going to have to pay these exorbitant fees,” she said.

“We live at PCH for a minimum of two weeks at a time and when he’s not admitted we’re there on average four hours each visit.”

Visitor parking for PCH at the QEIIMC site is managed by Wilson and operated by Capella which increased the hourly fee by 10c since the new hospital opened to $3.40 for 15 minutes to an hour, $6.80 for one to two hours, and capped it at $23 a day.

Ms Gibson said Toby had several weekly appointments at PCH and has been admitted to the hospital for two-week periods at a time so parking had become a financial burden.

“I’m disgusted and so are a lot of mums – Capella parking are making money off sick and dying children,” she said.

“We have no choice but to go to this hospital and they’re making money off it, it’s disgusting because the money doesn’t even go back into the hospital.”

Although the State Government provided daily parking concessions for eligible families, accessed by an average of 300 families per week since June 11, Ms Gibson said it shouldn’t need to because that money was coming from taxpayers.

“When Toby was admitted we did get a concession after three days where it was $5 a day, but before that we were paying about $6.60 an hour,” she said.

“The cost mounts and parking is an insult to families with chronically ill children and is a strain on families.

“Parents are literally going without things to put money aside for parking and questioning which appointments to go to but kids’ health has got to come first.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said the contract for the QEIIMC hospital car park, which was committed to by the previous government, failed to meet its key objective and had become an “ongoing liability” to the State.

“The QEIIMC Capella private car park deal was slammed in the Special Inquiry into Government Projects and Programs, which found there was no robust risk assessment undertaken by the previous Government,” she said.

“Another red flag raised in the inquiry found the agreement provided limited flexibility to adjust parking rates without having to fork out thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money to Capella.”

A North Metropolitan Health Service spokesman at the QEIIMC site said there were 1200 visitor car parking bays that attracted parking fees used “entirely to support” facilities for patients, visitors and staff.

“Capella receives revenue from parking on the QEIIMC site, and as the QEIIMC Trust owns the land on behalf of the State Government, it receives a $2.25 million licensing fee from Capella,” he said.

“This money is used to operate and maintain QEIIMC site parking facilities, including staff costs; running costs including road/surface repairs, cleaning and gardening; and IT and equipment costs including lighting, security cameras, ticketing machines and swipe cards.”

The Department of Health spokeswoman said a review of the contractual framework of the current agreement with Capella was underway.