3 Apr 2017

Nurse assault sparks hospital staff safety fears

7:52 pm on 3 April 2017

An assault on a Christchurch Hospital nurse on her way to work has prompted calls for more secure parking for staff.

Christchurch Junior Doctors Strike

An extensive redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital has put the squeeze on staff carparking Photo: RNZ / Andrew Collins

A safety warning sent to hospital staff said the nurse had just parked her car on Riccarton Avenue about 6am on Saturday, when a man wearing a mask grabbed her.

Police said the man pointed what was believed to be a firearm at the nurse's head before she screamed and he ran away.

Parking space has been under pressure due to an increasing number of construction projects in the city centre, including the redevelopment of the hospital, which began in 2014.

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation said it was inadequate and unsafe that some staff working early and late shifts had to park some distance away and walk to work.

The Canterbury District Health Board had called a meeting to discuss the issue, the union said.

Christchurch city councillor Deon Swiggs said the current situation was not good enough.

"There could be some solutions, it's just a matter of getting the right people around the table and actually starting to ask those questions," he said.

"The district health board really needs to get involved as well ... and actually have some care for their staff."

DHB to increase security patrols, look at shuttle service for staff

In a statement, Canterbury DHB chief executive David Meates said Saturday's attack was very concerning but the DHB believed it was an isolated incident.

The current situation was far from ideal and it was looking at developing a shuttle service for staff, he said.

"A permanent parking solution is not likely to be available until after 2019," he said.

"We are working in a very tight fiscal environment. It's a challenging time for the Canterbury DHB and any parking solution is likely to come at a significant cost."

Mr Meates said in the next few weeks another 150 street parking spaces near the hospital would be lost due to construction.

He said the hospital's security team and police would be increasing their patrols.

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