A decision to charge for parking on Hawke's Bay District Health Board premises will hinge on consultation with the public and staff, the board's chairman says.
The issue caused controversy and was slated as "revenue gathering" when staff were told this year there was a proposal for paid parking.
The preliminary business case was yesterday presented during the publicly excluded section of the board meeting.
In a statement released last night, board chairman Kevin Atkinson said staff and the public would be consulted regarding the possibility of paid parking at the Hawke's Bay Hospital campus in Hastings, the Napier Health Centre site and corporate office sites.
"The board supported consultation, and detailed information would go out to staff and the public in about four weeks," Mr Atkinson said.
If the plan went ahead, Hawke's Bay would be among the few provincial hospitals in the North Island to charge for the service.
Hospitals in Tauranga, Rotorua, Taupo, Gisborne, Taranaki and Whanganui have free parking, while Palmerston North and Hamilton charge from $1.50 to a maximum of $8.
In July a hospital staff member, who did not want to be named, slated the initiative.
"No one's happy," he said. "This is just revenue gathering and nothing else. We currently have enough problems with people not turning up to clinics. I can imagine we'll have many more missing appointments when they know they'll be paying to park."
Chief operating officer Warrick Frater said at the time supply of secure car parks was an issue: "It is important to be clear that the board has reached its limit of car parking space and needs to look at this issue."
The issue has also attracted debate on the pros and cons on the Hawke's Bay Today website and social media.