UPDATED-Interview with CHIP FM here.
We only visit hospitals when we’re at our most vulnerable, emotionally and physically. Apparently, the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux de l’Outaouais (CISSSO) believes that this vulnerability should extend to the wallets of Pontiac residents. The CISSSO Board of Directors, appointed by the provincial Quebec government, has decided that the Shawville hospital must impose parking fees on visitors and workers in order to be standard with city hospitals.
This blanket pay-for-parking scheme ordered by the board members of the CISSSO does not take into account that Shawville is a rural community, with free parking surrounding the hospital area and in town. This ridiculous decision to charge the Pontiac for parking will entail that patients, health care workers & visitors will now park offsite from the hospital to avoid paying these fees; essentially forcing the elderly, the injured, and nurses working 12-hour shifts to walk greater distances at their own risk to get to the hospital. Residential areas will be impacted as well.
I’ve benefited from the service provided by the health care workers at the Shawville hospital and forcing nurses and admin staff to now pay more than $2400 dollars (annually) to park onsite, when we’re surrounded by free parking, just seems petty. If forcing health-care workers to pay is petty, then forcing patients and visitors is an abject travesty. Shawville, unlike urban areas with health-care centers, does not have a public transportation option readily available to those who must visit or work at the hospital.
Make no mistake – this pay-for-parking scheme will not improve our local health care; it will only take more money from the pockets of health care workers and local residents.
Rural communities such as the Pontiac often are overlooked in favor of urban areas, or lumped in on decisions that are city-centric. All elected officials from all levels of Government, all political parties, local residents and Quebec health care worker unions need to work together to fix this.
This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s a common-sense issue. In my opinion, this is also an issue that is worth picking a fight over. Paid-parking at the Shawville hospital is a decision that should be suspended immediately pending public consultation, and rescinded prior to the March implementation date.
Further reading on this issue:
Gatineau imposes paid parking on Pontiac Community Hospital | Pontiac Journal
Mayors disappointed at CISSS de l’Outaouais restructuring in Shawville
Des tarifs décriés dans le Pontiac
A Facebook group was created that has attracted more than 1500 residents – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1699300137047057/ .