An average of 30 Lakes District Health Board staff have been found parking in the public carpark at Rotorua Hospital during checks carried out over two weeks.
According to the hospital's latest Kōrero staff newsletter the DHB facilities staff checked the carpark between 7am and 8.30am over two weeks and found most offenders had not tried to find a park elsewhere on the site.
"Parking is increasingly pressured on the Rotorua site, and taking parks away from our outpatients and visitors is bad news for everyone," the bi-monthly newsletter to the DHB's 1350-plus staff said.
"Please spare a thought for elderly, sick and frail visitors and patients who are having to park at the far end of the public carpark and then struggle to walk all the way."
In a statement yesterday chief operating officer Nick Saville-Wood said Lakes DHB was "surprised" at the findings, "as the check occurred after fairly extensive internal communications reminding staff to park in designated staff parks".
He said the checks were done in late September-early October and the DHB had not done another since.
Saville-Wood said parking pressures had eased.
A meeting on October 25 discussed solutions such as incentives to encourage staff to consider public transport, biking and carpooling.
Outpatient Kylie Mayhew has Crohn's disease and has to go to Rotorua Hospital for frequent check-ups.
"There is always trouble trying to find parking, especially on the days when the clinic sees outpatients. It's always full and people are fighting over any space."
She said she "hated" having to worry about parking for the emergency department a few years ago when her son had a ruptured appendix.
"Especially when your kid is unwell and everyone is panicking."
She said parking was also a challenge when one of her children was born prematurely and stayed in the special care baby unit.
"You pop out only to find all the parks gone when you're back. It's scary too if you have to leave late at night and you're parked far away. I'd always pop out and try to move closer once visiting hours were over.
"At the end of the day they just need more parks," Mayhew said
"Staff need their own locked carpark too, to keep their cars safe all day."
Pukehangi resident Reece Turner currently has a broken hand.
He said he recently parked on a yellow line to make a Rotorua Hospital appointment on time.
"You had to keep driving around and around and then by the end of it, you are either going to be late to your appointment, or you're going to get your car towed."
He said, in his opinion, the space around the hospital could be better used to make more patient parking.
"You have a bigger hospital, more staff, but the same amount of parking."
Fellow Rotorua resident Rachel Smith said she had left 20 minutes to find a park at Rotorua Hospital and make her recent appointments but was still late.
"I don't know how the elderly get on. If they are having to park down the bottom and make their way up the hill, it must be excruciating for them".
In September, the Rotorua Daily Post spoke with Madge McQuire, 84, who was 10 minutes early for an appointment but had to cancel it after circling the perimeter several times and failing to find space.
"That included the disability park, over the road, even along the fence, and the emergency parking that required a special sticker. Not an inch to spare. Other cars were cruising around to no avail," she said.
She could only walk small distances and went home without the treatment recommended by a surgeon.
Lakes DHB confirmed it had received two formal parking complaints since January 2016.
• St John Rotorua runs a health shuttle Monday to Friday for appointments from 8am to 3.30pm at medical practices.
• It collects patients from home half an hour before their appointment, then returns them after.
• Rides must be booked 24 hours in advance on 0800 000 606.
• There is no charge for the service but a donation is appreciated.