Zoltán Dézsi L. from ATV conducted a thorough report about the parking fees of hospitals from all over the country. As it turns out, people pay an enormous amount of money to park at hospitals while they are being treated or visiting their sick loved ones.
Journalist Szonja Kuslits previously wrote an article about the issue. At that time, she contacted many major hospitals in the country, inquiring about the parking fees; how the amount is determined, who gets the profit, why these are so ridiculously expensive. To the surprise of no one, she received no answer.
Dézsi Zoltán from ATV decided to re-open this case and investigate it. He and his crew visited many hospitals in the countryside and in Budapest as well, to check out their parking fees and to try and get some more information about the whole issue.
In Hungary, there is no pre-defined or limited amount state institutions have to comply with in terms of parking fees. It depends on the management of the different institutions how much they charge for parking.
People take advantage of this lack of regulation, to say the least, and they exploit people who have no other choice but pay their prices.
Let us be honest, if one needs to go to the hospital, one goes to the hospital. Many patients are in such poor conditions that they cannot simply take the bus or walk. Using public transportation is, sadly, not an option for everyone.
At the hospitals of Budapest, the average hourly fee for parking is around EUR 1.3 (HUF 400),
which does not seem so bad at first sight, unless one considers that people usually have to spend over 3 hours just to get their results or prescriptions. This way, it is easy to calculate that most people pay at least EUR 4.7 – 6.2 (HUF 1500-2000) for one trip to the hospital. Look at the average salaries in the country and see how much money it is for an average Hungarian family.
The situation is much worse in the countryside.
In Nyíregyháza, the fees get higher and higher the more time one spends in the parking lot:
- 1st hour – EUR 1.3 (HUF 400)
- 2nd hour – EUR 3.7 (HUF 1200)
- 3rd hour – EUR 7.5 (HUF 2400)
- 4th hour – EUR 12.4 (HUF 4000)
- 5th hour – EUR 18.6 (HUF 6000)
In Szeged, the first 30 minutes are free but every 30 minutes after that cost 2 Euros (HUF 600). In many cases, people simply have no other choice but to park in the hospital’s own parking lot or courtyard. In Debrecen, for example, the closest free parking option is the parking lot of a huge supermarket, which is 1 km away from the hospital’s entrance.
In Kistarcsa, there is literally nowhere else to park near the hospital but in the hospital’s pricey parking lot.
The only people getting in for free are the ones brought in by the ambulance. The Kistarcsa hospital claims that they use the money coming in from the parking fees to renovate the pavement of the parking lot, which has not happened so far (they have been promising this since 2015).
The most expensive parking in the whole country was at the hospital of Szeged, where it used to cost 3 Euros (1000 Forints) per 15 minutes (!) to park.
Due to public indignation, the hospital lowered the fee to 3 Euros per 30 minutes. So generous.
Of course, no one in charge was willing to comment on the issue. The hospital in Debrecen was the only institution which was willing to say something: they published some sort of paper about how
the company running the parking business in the hospital pays EUR 310,000 in share profits annually to the hospital.
Unfortunately, most people have no other choice but to pay the extremely expensive fees. However, the public is outraged by the whole situation and how these institutions are taking advantage of sick people and their loved ones.
You can watch ATV’s whole report in Hungarian below:
Source: ATV’s Youtube Channel (www.youtube.com/channel/UCXxUjsYxbL1llIe9Ra6wcyQ)