Despite the NSW Government announcing free parking at public hospital car parks for health practitioners – a shortage of car parking remains. With the workforce rapidly shifting to working from home, available street parking has substantially decreased.
This means health practitioners must now park either far away from hospitals or put themselves at risk by taking public transport or parking illegally.
Between long shifts and not being able to move the car every two hours (if parked in timed zones), many health practitioners have received fines or warnings for parking on a vacant plot of land. The battle for a car park can start as early as 6am every day and our nurses and doctors are exhausted.
To help alleviate this pressure on healthcare practitioners, Share with Oscar – a mobile app created by UNSW alumna Lisa Qi and her business partner Louise Chen – aims to connect healthcare workers with individuals and businesses offering their car parking space for free.
“We launched Share with Oscar in 2017 to connect drivers with vacant parking spaces such as driveways, garages and carports in congested neighbourhoods. We have now extended our platform to address the shortage of parking at hospitals nationwide as a result of this pandemic,” Ms Qi says.
Anyone with a car parking space can help
Ms Qi encourages people living within walking distance to hospitals and healthcare centres to share their available car spaces with frontline workers who are working extra hours and fighting the pandemic on behalf of all Australians.
Businesses can also list their available car parking spaces on the app. Various organisations have partnered with Share with Oscar and donated their car parking spaces – from hotels, churches to small businesses – many of which are also suffering as a result of business closures due to lockdown measures.
“To see such businesses offering their support while in need of support themselves, is remarkable,” Ms Qi says.
How to make your car parking space available
If you have an available car parking space, you can help healthcare workers by listing it on the Share with Oscar’s coronavirus appeal web page. Healthcare workers can also nominate the areas of interest where they need parking.
“Right now, we have a small window of time to prepare for what’s ahead, and bring the community together to better support the conditions of the healthcare system. We have to do everything we can,” Ms Qi says.
Share with Oscar is currently engaging with health departments across Australia to offer their support.