Parking fees at JDWNRH raise concerns among patients and attendants

As free medical services continue, substantial parking charges pose challenges for people

The Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH), known for providing free quality medical services to the people, is facing public discontentment due to the unreasonable parking fees charged to those visiting the hospitals in their vehicles.

Visitors to the hospital, especially those staying for extended periods, have raised their voices against the heavy financial burden imposed by the parking fees.

One of the parking fee collectors at JDWNRH shared some insights into the issue. “The parking tender was won by a businessman who paid around 56 lakhs (5.6 million) for the contract. We are obligated to meet daily rate submissions,” he explained. He further mentioned that hospital staff, numbering around 600, are exempt from paying parking fees. Approximately 60 vehicles parked on the premises belong to staff members and are also exempt from fees. This exemption for hospital staff makes it challenging to meet the daily revenue targets.

He revealed that the only possible way to achieve their daily targets is during the morning rush hours when people visit for check-ups. He also shared that these parking fees do not go to the hospital directly, but rather to the winning bidder of the parking contract, who in turn shares a certain percentage with the hospital management.

What is particularly burdensome for long-term patients and attendants is the cost of extended parking. The fee collector mentioned that people keep vehicles for as long as 8 to 9 months. A fee of Nu 100 per day is charged for those with valid discharge documents. For those staying 8 months, the parking fee is Nu 24,000, and for those keeping their vehicle for 9 months, it’s Nu 27,000. The hourly rate is Nu 20 per vehicle, and Nu 10 per vehicle for a stay of 30 minutes or less.

The challenges don’t stop there. The parking fee collector also faces issues with people leaving their vehicles for weeks without paying, and luxury SUV owners at times exit without paying, giving a big talk to the fee collectors. “We get Nu 500 per day,” the collector explained, hinting at the difficulty of managing unpaid parking.

A 58-year-old man shared his experience at JDWNRH, where his wife is receiving daily treatment. They have been at the hospital for 45 days and have paid a parking fee of Nu 4,500. He expressed his concern, stating that people don’t visit the hospital for leisure, and many may struggle to afford such high parking fees. He questioned why a large hospital offering free medical services does not provide concessions on parking fees. He also stated that his wife’s treatment is ongoing, which means additional parking fees will accumulate until her discharge.

A 32-year-old man named Bhagat, who recently visited the hospital, pointed out that when people come to the hospital, they should consider that medical treatments often consume half a day, if not the whole day. Sometimes, appointments are scheduled repeatedly on preceding days, which means patients and their attendants face the same financial burden of parking fees each time they visit. He raised the question of whether the current parking fee system in social sectors like healthcare makes sense, especially since people typically come to the hospital unprepared, and the duration of their stay in the hospital is uncertain.

A 42-year-old attendant who stayed for almost 5 months revealed that he paid nearly Nu 15,000 for parking his car. While he praised the free medical care, he expressed disappointment in the substantial parking fees. He said, “It is heavy for those visiting from other dzongkhags as they won’t have any alternative to park other than the parking lot in the hospital.” He also shared that people come with worry and hope to get a good medical care, and parking fee becomes disappointing for those who have to keep their vehicles parked for months.

Indra Kumar, a taxi driver, emphasized the need for more flexibility and convenience in parking arrangements. He believes that such fee structures could be more difficult for patients and attendants. He also shared that a reduction in parking fees could also benefit taxi drivers, providing some relief to those visiting the hospital.

As the hospital continues to provide quality medical services, the issue of parking fees remains a contrary one, highlighting the need for a balanced approach that eases the financial burden on people while meeting the hospital’s operational requirements. The voices of those affected by these charges are becoming increasingly vocal, calling for a resolution that aligns with the hospital’s mission of providing accessible healthcare to all.

Check Also

The 15th Convocation Day to be held in RUB colleges

The Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) Vice Chancellor, Nidup Dorji, has confirmed that the convocation …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *