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LETTER – Parking for Royal Inland Hospital staff still hasn’t been resolved

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

I saw your clip regarding the reinstatement of paid parking at RIH and that it forces “visitors and patients to pay for parking at hospitals creates another toll on healthcare and adds to the stress that comes with health issues.” “Access to healthcare is supposed to be free. That includes having a place to park.”

How about revisiting the lack of parking for those of us that work in the hospital as well?

As we know workers at the hospital are having to deal with covid & all the implications surrounding safety and care, as well as struggling with increased patient loads and consistent staffing shortages. To add more stress to already over taxed hospital staff, staff are having to pay-to-park & work, or search around town for places to park, which also comes with a fee.

Off-site parking means getting to and from work from poorly lit areas, and putting their safety at risk as crime continues to climb exponentially in Kamloops. Keep in mind that staff are walking in the very early hours & very late hours of each day, with no security to walk with them to their car.

Referring back to Nov. 27, 2020 on cfjctoday.com:

“Our off-site parking is actually at Peterson Creek and you’re walking through some pretty bushed area. If you’re walking on the street at 11:30 at night, people have had encounters, we’ve had our vehicles broken into, people have had to call the cops while walking to their vehicles because they’ve been followed.”

“… in our staff parkade if you don’t have a staff pass — which is about a six-year wait list to get — they have started towing and ticketing in there, also.”

The nurse says because the issue doesn’t pertain directly to the job, the union can’t help. According to the nurse, safety has become a concern among staff, with some choosing not to pick up short-call shifts due to the stress of the issue.

The other issue that workers face is simply finding a spot to park. This can be such an issue that staff are late for their shift because they simply cannot find parking anywhere. This is becoming a serious issue, as previously empty lots are being removed from the ‘parking pool’ to make way for more buildings.

Also, if you are a staff member who is working with an injury, parking is even more out of reach. There are absolutely no concessions from the hospital, or Impark, to accommodate these staff members who may struggle to walk long stretches, grapple with inclines and are unable to navigate stairs. These staff now have another added stress to wanting to work due to the fact that they are not allowed to park in the parkade.

If a person comes to work, pays the fee, like everyone else, for parking in the parkade (because there are no other options available to them to park anywhere else), should they be ticketed because they are not deemed a visitor?

Pre-covid there was always a parking issue. Covid has changed how some appointments are done through the hospital.  Telephone/Zoom interviews have taken the place of previous in-person visits. This has resulted in a decrease of patients needing to be at the hospital which may help a small amount with the parking crunch.

Parking at RIH has been a huge issue for decades and yet staff still struggle with parking fees, ticket fines and lack of spaces. There is no public outcry regarding this issue, no protests, no petitions to the premier, no city brainstorming of what can be done to rectify this issue. Why? Does it have to result in a hospital worker who is severely accosted, injured or killed to get serious movement on this issue?

Hospital workers are always working for the public to ensure they are taken care of in their moment of need.

It would be nice to get the public to help the hospital workers in their time of need – which is now more than ever.

NAME WITHHELD

 

About Mel Rothenburger (8893 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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