Outrage Grows as Hospital Parking Fee Policy Sparks Public Discontent: People Demand Fairness



People visiting Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) in Thimphu are not too thrilled about the parking fee at the Hospital. They feel like it’s adding more stress to an already tough situation.

The hospital which is renowned for offering high-quality medical services free of charge, is currently facing a lot of public discontentment. It’s because of the parking fees they’re charging to people who visit the hospital in their vehicles.

People are frustrated and upset about it. They believe that it’s unreasonable to have to pay such high fees when they’re already dealing with medical issues and seeking healthcare. It’s like an added burden on top of everything else.

The hospital has always been known for providing free medical services, so this sudden policy change has caught people off guard. They are hoping for a solution and a fair solution to this issue because it’s causing a lot of stress and dissatisfaction among the public.

A 37-year-old cab operator, Phurba Dorji said that the collecting of parking fees is a positive decision because it helps raise funds for the hospital, especially considering the investment they made in constructing the parking lot. However, he also noticed that they seemed to be charging more than what was indicated on the signboard. That’s something worth highlighting and investigating further. The hospital needs to ensure transparency and consistency when it comes to parking fees.

One of the visitors shared that those visitors to the hospital, especially those who find themselves staying for an extended period have been expressing their dissatisfaction with the heavy financial burden that comes with the collection of parking fees. They feel that it adds an unnecessary strain to an already difficult situation. It can be quite frustrating when they are dealing with medical issues and on top of that they have to worry about paying for parking. It’s like an extra weight on their shoulders.

Karma Gyeltshen said that if the signboard at the hospital displays an incorrect parking fee, then the management has to correct it and put up a new signboard with accurate rates.

He said that he feels that the parking fee collector is taking advantage of innocent people by charging them more than the official rates. It’s like they are taking advantage of the situation and it’s not fair at all. He says “People should only have to pay what the signboard shows, right?”. Everyone needs to be treated fairly and not to be taken advantage of.

In addition to visitors being unhappy about the high parking fees, they are saying that these fees don’t go directly to the hospital. Instead, they go to the company that won the parking contract, and then that company shares a portion of the revenue with the hospital management.

“It’s like a whole chain of money flow.” The visitors are frustrated about the parking fee because they thought the parking fee would directly go to the hospital and benefit the hospital, but it turns out there’s this middleman involved. It can be a bit confusing and unfair.

Another cab operator, Lhendup said that the hospital parking area doesn’t have designated parking for taxis. This can make it difficult for patients who need a taxi. The cab operators are trying to adjust to the situation, but it’s still challenging. He said if there is a dedicated parking space for taxis at the hospital with low parking fees, it would be affordable for everyone and it would make things easier for everyone.

Tshering Norbu’s concern about parking fees at the hospital. He said, “Our country’s limited sources of income may be challenging, but the current charging system seems too high for us.”

 It’s important to remember that people who visit the hospital are not there for leisure, but they have health issues. Considering the purpose of their visit, it would be fair if they were not charged for parking, he said.

“If there is a need to charge, the fees should be reduced, as meeting with doctors is not always a quick and easy process.” Sometimes it takes more than half a day, and in those cases, patients end up paying even more. These concerns highlight the need for a more considerate approach to parking fees at the hospital, added Tshering Norbu.

Meanwhile, after contacting several times, the Bhutan Times could not get information from the hospital management.

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