Teenage patient's petition prompts hospital parking fee cut

Gidon Goodman at hospital during treatment.
Gidon Goodman at hospital during treatment.  Photo: Change.org

Gidon Goodman has spent more time than most in hospital. But rather than just worrying about his own health troubles, the determined teenager wanted to do something to help all patients and their families. 

Now, thanks to a petition started by the 14-year-old NSW boy, long-term patients will save up to $200 a week in hospital parking fees. 

Gidon started collecting signatures eight months ago because his family was having to fork out thousands of dollars during his treatment for a rare blood disorder at Sydney Children's Hospital.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Monday announced the government would re-negotiate with the owners of public hospital car parks in a move that will cost the state $11 million in consolidated revenue.

The changes, effective from July, will mean carers only pay 10 per cent of current fees and in some cases save $200 a week.

Ms Berejiklian congratulated Gidon saying the petition showed that sometimes governments needed "a nudge" to act.

"We were aware of everything families were struggling through," she told reporters.

"But when you hear it from the mouth of a child going through it and really wanting to support his family who are supporting him, it does bring that back to home."

Under the changes, carers who visit a hospital more than twice a week will be able to apply for a concession card unlocking cheaper parking.

Gidon said he never imagined the petition would attract so much attention and was "unbelievably proud" of the result.

"It's going to help a massive amount of people, going into the hundreds of thousands," he said.

"I think it really shows democracy in action.

"It shows the government can listen to people when they speak out."

In the petition, posted on Change.org, Gidon told how high hospital parking costs were hurting the "most vulnerable in society thousands to receive healthcare that is supposedly 'free'."

"The money that is made for the most part goes straight to private companies so the money doesn't even help the hospital. In fact this is more expensive then Bondi Beach Parking, Domestic Airport parking, commercial parking and many valet services," he wrote.

"Many families simply can not afford to be late for life saving treatment and can not find time to look for free parking in an extremely populated urban area situated right next to a university.

"Despite this parking fees have gone up over the last 5 years at a ridiculous rate which is forcing families to pay thousands and suffer the consequences. 

"Please sign and share this petition to get hospital parking rates dramatically reduced, so families can once again go to hospital without worrying about the crippling price of parking."  

The government will need to negotiate with about 30 car park operators but Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he had "no doubt" they would cooperate.

Ms Berejiklian said the government intended for the change to become a permanent part of the health system.

Opposition health spokesman Walt Secord said car parking problems constituted the third largest source of complaints he received.

He said he would have to see the "fine print" of the announcement, but hoped the policy would be fair and meet community expectations.