Hospital car park stresses mother

Posted 27 Apr 2012 by MediaStuff Popular
Posted in Health/Wellbeing , Media
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A heavily pregnant mother says she has missed appointments at Christchurch Hospital because parking her car is "too stressful''.

Post-earthquake parking woes at Christchurch Hospital have cost the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) $3 million, and more than 700 hospital parking spaces have been lost since the February 2011 earthquake.

Charlene Squires, 29, is seven months' pregnant with her third child and has to attend clinics and have scans at Christchurch Women's Hospital every two weeks.

''I had some serious complications with my other two children, so that's why I'm considered high risk,'' she said.

''I often have to queue and wait for about 45 minutes while a security guard directs traffic in the main car park behind the hospital.''

Squires said the lack of parking was ''diabolical''.

''I have missed appointments because it's too much hassle, especially in the school holidays. I've got a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old, and waiting for up to an hour with two small children in the car; well, you just can't do it,'' she said.

''I can't walk a long way. I'm really meant to be looking after myself and I just cannot park a long way away from the hospital.''

Board corporate services manager Murray Dickson said quake repairs were the main reasons for the loss of parks.

"At the moment we're just coping, but there's not enough to fulfill everyone's need," he said.

The Christchurch City Council-operated parking building on the corner of Antigua and Tuam streets has been closed since October, meaning the loss of 376 parking spaces.

A council spokeswoman said the building would not reopen for another six to 12 months.

Dickson said: "This building was our primary source of parking for patients and visitors, so that's been a big issue."

A board-owned parking building is operating at reduced capacity while repairs are under way.

"The parking situation does add another layer of stress to people's lives," Dickson said.

He said the board was putting out an expression of interest to parking companies. Dickson said the temporary police station being developed on the corner of St Asaph and Antigua streets would "likely cause more congestion".

The board has been paying to use land behind the Horticultural Centre in Hagley Park.

Board member and city councillor Aaron Keown said he hoped the planned redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital would take the parking problem seriously.

Canterbury Hospitals' Medical Staff Association chairwoman Ruth Spearing said the situation could be eased if more health professionals cycled to work.

She said the board was improving bike-storage areas."The council needs to make the roads more cycle-friendly ... and [more people would cycle] if the DHB had locked, covered areas where bikes weren't getting rusty and were safe," she said.


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