"Charging for Misery"

About: Derriford Hospital / General surgery Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) / General surgery

(as a relative),

Take a significantly impoverished county which is one hundred miles long and centralise the health services, so that the vast majority of the population must travel to them. Next sell off the parking areas so that a private company can set its own tax on sickness, suffering and sympathy. Now sit back and wash your hands of the whole issue by telling those who complain, “It’s nothing to do with us because the car parks have been sold to private companies.”

It is my perception that I have described precisely what has happened in Cornwall. If this proposal had been a part of an election manifesto it would have been treated with the derision it deserves. However, over the years we have allowed the Health Authorities to do precisely this. I suppose that I would be naive and unrealistic to imagine that anyone could possibly think of reversing the situation on the basis of fairness or out of a sense of social justice. I imagine that it is easier to shake the head, agree that it is both unfair and iniquitous before insisting that folk pay up.

The charges made on misery do nothing to benefit services, they simply line the pockets of the owners of companies such as Qpark, in the case of Treliske. Isn’t this an absolute disgrace? Isn’t that disgrace compounded when charges at Treliske are double those at Derriford?

This week I visited our excellent hospital in Truro with an elderly relative for oncology consultations, tests and then had to wait for results. The time spent in the car park was four hours three minutes. The charge was six pounds twenty because we had moved three minutes into the next charging band. A similar appointment for a very similar amount of time at Derriford a fortnight ago actually cost me two pounds ten pence! At Derriford the cost is two pounds ten pence for up to four hours whilst at Treliske the new basic charge is two pound ten pence for two hours.

I am under no illusion that anyone will feel moved to do anything about the plight of travelling patients in Cornwall or anywhere else. It sadly seems the case that the wellbeing of patients and their families is way down the list of priorities when there is money to be made. It is clear that, whilst we silently pay up the charges will continue to rise.

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