Christchurch Hospital to get $14m carpark after reports of nurses being attacked while walking to cars

A new hospital car park building will be built in Christchurch within two years, after nurses reported being attacked while walking to their cars at shift change. 

Getting a park close to Christchurch Hospital is difficult even for Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Megan Woods - but on Friday night she announced she'd come up with a solution. 

"I'm absolutely delighted to announce a 450-space car park, new building in partnership with Ngāi Tahu," she said.

The Crown is forking out $14 million for the package, which will see a brand new car park building constructed within the next two years. 

It also includes an extension to two existing car parks to create, all-up, 1500 new and much-needed hospital parking spaces.

"I believe at this point in time that it is for the public, so we would like to seek assurances that there will be some afternoon and night staff car parks - that certainly is when our nurses are more at risk," said Cheryl Hanham, New Zealand Nurses Organisation spokesperson.

The problem is, car parking spots have been highly sought after for both nurses and patients. Some nurses travel to work hours early, sleeping in their cars just so they can be parked close enough to the hospital.

There's also been reports of nurses at a night time shift change feeling so unsafe, they're walking to their cars with scissors in their pockets. 

Phlebotomist Kenneth McCaul was killed by a fleeing driver traveling to work at 4am to get a car park before his 7am shift. 

"This park is very dark at night, and this is around the area that most of our workforce park," Hanham said.

"The majority of them are women, so it's very scary working in an unlit place that's dark - and, as you know, there are nurses that have been attacked."

But Minister Woods is promising change.

"For the new building we're looking at about an 18 to 24-month build time period," she said.

"We've been progressing this along, getting things moving as much as we can and making sure this isn't just an idea that we're announcing - it's a concrete plan."

Maybe even the minister will find a park then, too.