A patient at Whangarei Hospital's mental health unit has been
arrested for allegedly assaulting a nurse and stealing a car
from the hospital.
Northland District Health Board is looking into how the
female patient in the hospital's sub-acute unit managed to
steal a set of keys from the staff office and drive a health
board staff vehicle away.
The patient also allegedly assaulted a nurse as she made her
Whangarei police Sergeant Stephanie Hudson said the nurse was
allegedly assaulted by a woman at Whangarei Hospital about
8.40pm on Wednesday.
The alleged assailant then drove off in the health board
Sergeant Hudson said police caught up with the vehicle on
State Highway 12, between Ohaeawai and Kaikohe later in the
evening, but the woman would not stop.
Police used road spikes to stop the vehicle and the
37-year-old woman was arrested and charged with assault and
unlawfully taking a motor vehicle.
She is likely to appear in Whangarei District Court on the
charges later this month.
NDHB general manager mental health services and district
hospitals Sue Wyeth said the patient was returned to the
hospital's mental health unit after being charged, she said.
"The nurse involved is shaken and has a few bruises. She will
be returning to work as per her usual shifts," Ms Wyeth said.
"There has never been such an incident at the unit and we now
recognise that storing car keys out of sight will alleviate
any further risk of this kind."
- Mike Dinsdale of The Northern Advocate