KUALA LUMPUR: With serious parking problems being the norm at many Klang Valley government hospitals frustrating patients and those who accompany them for doctor’s appointments, the Health Ministry is finally in the process of finding solutions to the matter.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the ministry is looking into the issue comprehensively and has instructed that hospitals with critical parking problem, such as Serdang Hospital and Tuanku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, be given attention.
“We found that the hospital building plans do not account for sufficient car parks to cater to patients and staff. We have started mapping out the different hospitals for the best solution to the problem the public is facing,” he said yesterday at the Asia Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine Summit.
Khairy said once information gathering is completed, the ministry will have discussions with a related agency or department on building a multi-storey car park, as it did at Kuala Lumpur Hospital to resolve its long-standing parking problem.
“It is part of the ministry’s plan to resolve parking issues and it is looking into proposing a tender for a parking concession. We need to figure out the best way to get around it, and if we go with the concession model, we will try to find one where the government does not have to fork out any money and have the concession party manage it.”
Khairy said the only concern with car parking concessions being tendered to a private company is that parking fees will be charged.
To avoid burdening Malaysians with potentially high parking fees, the ministry will also seek public opinion before deciding to build any multi-storey car parks, he added.
At Serdang Hospital last week, theSun met individuals who had grown frustrated and angry over the parking problem, that has caused great distress to patients and visitors who frequented the hospital for checkups and appointments with doctors.
Many said they were forced to park far from the hospital compound, sometimes on the roadside along the highway.
An alternative parking lot at MAEPS and a free shuttle that transports visitors from there to the hospital has been closed for the last two months, worsening the situation.
Carmen Lau, 29, who escorted her 60-year-old father to a doctor’s appointment, said it was their first time at the hospital.
“I am confused because there are no directions, and I did not realise we have to park so far away. Some motorists even double parked. The hospital is also not accessible by public transport, making it difficult to find better alternatives to parking illegally,” she told theSun.
There is a public parking lot in the hospital compound. However, it is haphazardly packed with cars as many inconsiderate drivers illegally double-park their vehicles.
A 50-year-old visitor, who identified himself only as Mus, said he had been waiting in his car at the parking lot since 6.30am to send his ailing father for his monthly checkups with the help of his sister.
“Coming here is a two-person job. One has to drive and the other accompanies the patient for the doctor’s visit.
“I have been coming here every month for the last five years, and the parking is still haphazard.
“I parked outside before but was fined once. Now, I just try my best to park inside (the hospital compound),” he added.