Hospital pay-to-park scheme is worth fighting

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We visit hospitals when we’re at our most vulnerable, emotionally and

We 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 this vulnerability should extend to the wallets of Pontiac residents. The CISSSO Board of Directors, appointed by the provincial government, has decided the Pontaic Community hospital must impose
parking fees on visitors and workers in order to be standard with city hospitals.
This blanket scheme does not take into account that Shawville is a rural community, with free parking surrounding the hospital and in town. This ridiculous decision will mean that patients, health care workers and visitors will now park offsite from the hospital, forcing the elderly, the injured, and nurses working 12-hour shifts to walk greater distances at their own risk to reach the hospital. Residential areas will be impacted.
  Forcing nurses and admin staff to now pay to park onsite, when we’re
surrounded by free parking, seems petty. Forcing patients and visitors to pay is a travesty. Shawville, unlike urban areas, does not have public transportation for those who visit or work at the hospital.
This 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 into decisions that are city-centric. All elected officials from all levels of government, all political parties, local residents and health-care worker unions need to work together to fix this.
This isn’t a partisan issue; it’s common sense.  This is also an issue that is worth picking a fight over. Paid-parking at the Pontaic Community hospital is a decision that should be suspended immediately, pending public consultation, and rescinded prior to its March implementation date.

Benjamin Woodman
GATINEAU