15 May 2018

Hospital staff forced to walk alone to vehicles in the dark

3:19 pm on 15 May 2018

There are growing safety concerns for staff at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital after a nurse was followed to her car last month.

Middlemore Hospital

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Staff are very scared to walk to their cars at night and security escorts that are meant to be available are not always there, said The Nurses Organisation spokesperson Anna Majavu.

A patient carpark close to the hospital entrance used to be available for staff to use between 8pm and 8am, but parking there now resulted in a $60 fine.

The organisation was unsure why this suddenly changed and said security had become more of a problem since.

Staff working at night now had to park quite far from the hospital, in a staff car park that was previously only used during the day.

Last month a nurse was followed to her car following a shift that ended after dark. The nurse had asked for a security escort that evening but was forced to walk alone as there wasn't one available.

"NZNO is really concerned that we want nurses and healthcare assistants and midwives to be safe at night, it's unsafe and we don't want to wait until one of them is attacked," Ms Majavu said.

Break-ins are frequent in the carparks and of the limited security cameras, many don't record actual footage.

"Really, anybody could get in there and be waiting for the nurses," said Ms Majavu.

The organisation is asking for an improvement in the escort system, security personnel to be posted permanently at car exits and for guards in golf carts to patrol the car parks.

She said car park safety issues need to be urgently addressed by the Counties Manukau DHB.

Counties Manukau DHB haven't yet been able to provide a response.

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