Hospital staff feel unsafe going to car park after their night shift
WELLINGTON HOSPITAL workers are afraid when returning to their cars after their night shifts despite recent lighting improvements.
Nurse Donna McLennan pays $84 a month to secure a park, but this does not stop her feeling unsafe walking alone to her car.
“Because I have worked rotating shifts here, I have had to park in the top car park where the lighting is not adequate, and it’s very isolated,” says Mrs McLennan.
“On many occasions I have found myself running to my car.”
Staff can pay up to $10 daily for parking or they can enter into a monthly contract which works out at $2.50 a day.
Mrs McLennan wants Capital Coast District Health Board management to do more for nurses’ parking in and around the hospital grounds.
“I would like to see a shuttle service to your car if you work the late shift. In previous places I have worked, this is exactly what they did,” says Mrs McLennan.
“It should be about looking after the well-being of their employees.”
Kelvin Watson, executive clinical and corporate director for CCDHB, says the board treats the matter seriously and there are measures to ensure the safety of workers.
“We appreciate that we have a predominantly female workforce, and with that in mind, we have recently reviewed and upgraded the lighting at staff parking areas,” says Mr Watson.
“After a shift, staff members are welcome to ask one of our security orderlies to walk with them to their vehicle.”
But Mrs McLennan says that the presence of security personnel has not eased her concerns.
“In all honesty I don’t use them because they are often short-staffed and there isn’t one available to take you to your car. If they are there, it is often a long wait.
“At the end of a late shift, all you want to do is get home.”
Mr Watson says that, because of other duties, security orderlies may not be available to nurses straight away.
He thinks the $2.50-a-day that staff can pay is very reasonable and the free parking for night staff is an encouragement to park in the hospital grounds.
This is of little use to nurses like Jenny Munro who work day and night shifts and cannot afford the monthly fee.
Ms Munro has never paid for parking at Wellington Hospital and like many nurses would rather park outside hospital grounds.
“There are a lot of people in my position who feel parking for employees is too expensive and try to find an alternative such as parking on nearby streets,” says Ms Munro.
“At night I do not feel safe once I leave the hospital no matter where my car is parked.
“I want to see cheaper rates for on-site parking as well as safer parking areas.”
Nurse’s Union member Erin Kennedy is all too aware of the problems faced by staff working late at night.
“Nurses either park miles away and walk through dark streets at end of shift, or pay to park on hospital property,” she says.
Ms Kennedy says the parking situation is a concern for many night staff.