No support here for Royal Victoria Hospital.

They must be Babel’s most successful thieves. They are the parking meters and parking lot gate machines at our local hospital. The amount hospital visitors have to pay to park is disgusting. It is nothing more than a tax on our health and love and caring. It is bad medicine. And something needs to be done about it.

And not just in Babel but across Ontario. This observation was stimulated by an excellent column last week in the Toronto Star by veteran reporter/commentator Carol Goar. Carol believes that citizens need to be relieved of high hospital parking fees and we could not agree more.

Carol started by commenting on Finance Minister Jim Flaherty removing the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) on hospital parking. She neglects to note that there will be more than a few moons in the sky when any Ontario hospital gives that part of parking fees back to visitors. Flaherty simply increased the amount they are ripping off.

And you can forget Health Minister Deb Matthews stepping in. She turns a blind-eye to the whole business and says she is not involved. If she is not, just who the hell do our hospitals look to for some guidance in their ignorance?

When a Human Rights case was entered against our local Royal Victoria Hospital several years ago because of the discriminatory practices of new doctors in the community, the adjudicator listened only to the hospital’s lawyer. It was this high priced lawyer’s argument that hospitals had no control over the doctors who practiced there. The Ontario Medical Association claimed that it had already told doctors not to discriminate and therefore they did not take any responsibility. And suing individual doctors would have been counterproductive.

Locally it is like that useless Member of Parliament for Babel who has his staff run a charity event every year where the hospital is supposed to get the proceeds. We have yet to see an audit report on those events that would give us an indication if they are worthwhile or not. We know the MP loves them as they get him a lot of free publicity and he gets to play shinny with some former NHL players. Our guess is that these events are so over-politicized that they harm the hospital’s more legitimate fund raising activities. There are probably too many Conservatives on the hospital board to raise any alarms about it.

But frankly, Royal Victoria Hospital is probably just as bad as other hospitals throughout Ontario. They all have a hell of a lot to learn about community relations. It hurts patients when you deny them the visitors and the encouragement to get well that they need. The hospitals are making it outrageously expensive for out-patients and it is the medical staff that gets to deal with the outrage. Maybe the boards will find these hospitals easier to run if nobody wants to go there.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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