Thieves have been targeting the cars of frontline healthcare workers – stealing them or smashing their way in and taking whatever they can get their hands on while the owners work gruelling shifts saving Kiwi lives.
The Herald is aware of spate of break-ins of cars belonging to staff parked in a Wilson Parking building in areas designated for those who work at Auckland Hospital.
Wilson Parking, the Auckland District Health Board and police have been approached for comment.
One nurse said she returned to her car – parked in a building near the hospital – at 3.30pm yesterday to find it stolen.
She told the Herald that police had called her husband to say there had been a report of the car being taken.
He then rang the nurse and told her to check the car park.
“I went to check and my car wasn’t there,” she said.
“Apparently one of the staff saw someone breaking into cars and notified police.
“There have been five cars damaged or stolen – my friend’s car got stolen last week from the car park and is still not found.”
The nurse, who did not want to be named to protect her privacy, said she was in the middle of an emergency situation when her husband called.
“This is so distressing – when you want to concentrate at what you are doing at work and you get called only to know your car has been stolen,” she said.
“We are busy saving lives in the hospital and we would not expect thisto happen to us frontline workers during this time.
“At least have some respect during this pandemic times – we are giving 100 per cent to save your loved loves.
She said it was not ideal that nurses at Auckland Hospital had to pay for parking while working extended shifts during the lockdown – but to have cars stolen and damaged on top of that was infuriating.
“We have had to leave the ward just to go check our vehicles when security should be out making sure at least vehicles are secure,” she said.
She had heard that four cars were taken yesterday alone.
Another nurse was working in an isolation ward when a note was passed to her saying there had been cars broken into and colleagues were heading out to check.
She gave her licence plate and parking spot details to them.
“When they came back I didn’t get a thumbs up … it’s so annoying,” she said.
She had to leave the ward and go and check her car.
“They broke in through the small back window and ransacked it, there were no real valuables there but they took whatever they could,” she said.
“It’s more of a hassle than anything for me because there is nothing open to get the car fixed.”
She said whoever was responsible only targeted the levels of the carpark building where hospital staff left vehicles.
“It’s disrespectful,” she said.
“We are not allowed days off at the moment … we have to get to work.
“I am out there looking after super super sick (patients) … it’s a pandemic, this is crazy, and it’s sad.”
Another nurse heard the same from colleagues.
Yesterday she returned to her car after a 12-hour shift yesterday and noted three vehicles with windows smashed in.
An attempt had been made to hot wire another.
She said the break ins happened between 12pm and 4pm.
“It’s disappointing … it’s more than that really,” she said.
“It’s also stressful for staff because they can’t get them fixed during level 4 so they have to either drive them broken or find another way to get to work.
“If you start before 7am it’s not like you can bus … there are not really a lot of options.”
She photographed the damage and posted the images on social media.
She said the response from other heath workers was overwhelming.
“They’re pretty upset, pretty angry,” she told the Herald.
“We’re out there working 12-hour shifts and to have that happen at the end of the day, it’s quite disappointing.”
Wilson Parking owns the building where staff park at Auckland Hospital.
Unless they arrive before 5.30am staff are charged $19 per day to park.
Some opt to drive to work early and sleep in their vehicle to ensure cheaper parking rates.
Multiple nurses spoken to by the Herald said staff on site “did nothing” to help after the weekend’s break ins.
They said police had been informed but Wilson Parking staff said it had “nothing to do with” them.
Last year, during the first national level 4 lockdown, police charged a man with a spate of car break ins near Middlemore and Auckland Hospitals – vehicles left by doctors and nurses working shifts on the frontline.
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