BRAD Hazzard has only been NSW health minister for a matter of weeks, but he’s already had a discussion with Jewish teenager Gidon Goodman, whose admirable campaign for regulation of parking fees at public hospitals continues to gain traction.
Last October the 13-year-old Moriah College student, who has Gaucher’s Disease, presented a Change.org petition signed by almost 70,000 people to health minister at the time, Jillian Skinner.
It called for an end to “exorbitant parking fees” for patients like him, who require regular and ongoing hospital treatments, and their visitors.
Skinner promised Goodman a review that would examine possible solutions, including the teen’s own idea of extending concessions to people with chronic illnesses who, like him, need to visit hospital for treatment at least once per fortnight.
While Skinner’s resignation in early 2017 was a potential obstacle to progress, Goodman has since confirmed he is corresponding with Hazzard and is confident a positive announcement will soon be made.
“I have now personally had a phone call with the new health minister and can happily report that the review of hospital parking is still taking place and moving forward for a better solution,” Goodman posted on his Change.org petition page.
He told The AJN on Friday that Hazzard seems receptive and committed to making progress on the issue.
“Yes, I think so – there’s definitely change coming,” Goodman said.
More than six months on, his petition page and update posts continue to draw plenty of supportive comments online from people around the country.
Maureen Patricia Greenup-King recently commented how she and her family members are having to pay a fortune in parking fees to visit her sister, who is hospitalised for prolonged periods due to chronic emphysema.
“I repeatedly had to pay $48 in the one hit – absolutely disgraceful,” she wrote.
Peter Moylan commented “well done, come to Victoria now”, while Barbara Jochelson, who has just had chemotherapy, wrote “I so admire people who are ‘doers’ not just ‘sayers’ – excellent work Gidon.”
Goodman said the amount of comments still coming through “definitely does surprise me, but it just shows how big an issue this is – and not just in NSW.”