Hawke's Bay Hospital's carpark is being targeted by thieves, with the ones providing care and help to patients feeling the brunt of a "nearly nightly occurrence".
A recently retired nurse, who did not want to be named, said the problem has been an ongoing issue.
"It just happens too often around here, it's nearly a nightly occurrence."
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She said earlier in December, four staff cars were broken into and one was stolen.
"One of the young graduate nurses came off a long shift and saw her car broken into and at the time three guys were still in the vehicle and she was yelling and screaming at them to get out," she said.
"Luckily the guys ran off but it could have been so much worse because she was by herself and you never know what could have happened."
She it was a dreadful thing to have happen, especially to those struggling on the wages of a graduate job.
"She and other young nurses don't earn a hell of a lot to begin with and so most only have limited insurance and maybe the odd car alarm," she said.
"It's really just the last thing you want to see after working a long shift.
"I know some stuff is being done, but it needs to go further and there needs to be more public awareness because staff are just sick of it."
Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman Chris McKenna said staff were struggling with the issue of thefts in the carpark.
"Hawke's Bay District Health Board has proactively been alerting staff to the break-ins through its intranet and daily staff notices for some time," she said.
"Car break-ins unfortunately occur on a too-regular basis on the Hawke's Bay Hospital campus and despite security guards patrolling and a significant CCTV camera network thieves continue to target staff cars while they are working."
McKenna said police and security were all actively working to stop car break-ins and thefts, but thieves appeared to target the hospital campus and staff cars, despite them often being parked behind barrier arms for protection.
"Images from the CCTV cameras of thieves breaking in to cars were always provided to police for them to follow-up and there were regular reminders to staff not to leave valuables in sight in their cars," McKenna said.
"It's terrible that thieves target staff cars while they are at work caring for people.
"We are doing what we can by increasing the CCTV camera network and providing more lighting and constantly reminding staff of some safety tips.
"It would be great if we could also get the wider public to alert police if they saw any suspicious activity at night on the hospital campus as they were passing."
She said if staff feel unsafe or nervy they can call security when they are due to finish or start their shift and arrange a pick-up or drop-off to or from their vehicle.
The team provides a service of driving hospital staff to and from their parked vehicles in a fleet van after dark.