19 Dec 2018

Middlemore Hospital nurses and staff to rally over safety concerns

1:01 pm on 19 December 2018

Auckland's Middlemore Hospital staff are still feeling unsafe walking to and from their cars, their union says.

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Middlemore Hospital staff feel unsafe walking to and from their cars and they're calling for safer parking. Photo: RNZ / Jesse Chiang

Staff across Counties Manukau District Health Board (DHB) are expected to rally outside the hospital today calling for safer parking in the wake of car thefts and vandalism.

Earlier this year RNZ reported on growing fears for staff at Middlemore Hospital after a nurse was followed to her car.

Nursing Organisation (NZNO) delegate at the hospital Sela Ikavuka said the problems hadn't gone away.

"You have strangers inside the carpark stealing people's cars ... you have strangers at night time who drive around following staff back to their cars."

NZNO said cars had been stolen and vandalised, some so badly that they couldn't be driven.

One nurse found a pair of sharp scissors left in her car.

Ms Ikavuka said it was distressing for staff and the issues had been exacerbated by growing staff numbers.

"We want to increase parking especially with the DHB closing down other facilities in the community and bringing them into Middlemore."

She said there was a bottleneck especially for those coming in in the afternoon.

"We have to park further away, in places where there's no lighting sometimes, it's further away from security being able to see us. Some have to park on the road."

She said they had met with the DHB who she said had taken advice from the police about where lights and cameras should be.

The union met with the DHB last week and said they were working to improve security at two spots on campus between 7pm and 3am.

However, Ms Ikavuka said they wanted to feel safer and more needed to be done.

"We want to see cameras in all areas where we park, we want to see a greater security presence especially at night when our staff are walking to their cars."

A rally was due to be held outside the hospital this afternoon to call on the DHB to resolve the matter.

In a statement, Counties Manukau District Health Board said it was aware nurses felt unsafe and was introducing security measures to address the areas of concern.

More cameras had been added to the carpark and two dedicated security guards were available to escort staff to their cars.

Fencing at the furthest end of the Western Campus would be be replaced, lighting in the area upgraded, trees and bushes be cleared and the police would provide increased presence in the vicinity, a spokesperson said in a statement.

The DHB said it had had anecdotal evidence of some incidents but haven't been receiving forms reporting them. The board was "working to encourage staff to do this".

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