REGINA -- The Opposition NDP is calling on the government to build a new parking structure for staff at the Regina General Hospital.

Parking has been a longstanding issue in the area. Many nurses have complained about lack of parking spots, along with vandalism and other crime in the area. Some staff have to walk 20 minutes to and from their cars.

“Nurses and health care workers, patients and their families, everyone who needs to access our hospitals deserves to do so as safely and as conveniently as possible,” NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat said in a news release. “The wait list for a staff parking spot is up to 11 years, staff fear for their own safety or vandalism of their vehicle when they have to walk blocks to their car after a night shift, and family members of patients are spending time hunting for parking spots that they should be spending with their loved ones.”

Mowat also said there is a $3.3 billion infrastructure deficit in the healthcare system.

In 2018, the City said it wouldn’t add parking meters to the area. It also called on the Saskatchewan Health Authority to do something to improve the parking situation.

In an emailed statement to CTV News Regina, the province said the Saskatchewan Health Authority is looking into options for the hospital.

"The SHA is gathering information to help determine the possible scope of a privately built, owned and operated parkade, but no final decision has been made," the province said. "Parking is a support service, not a direct health care service, so we can believe it could be appropriately provided through the private sector."

Meanwhile, the SHA will continue with its Park and Ride and Safe Walk programs.

Mowat said the NDP would commit to building the parkade if the party forms government in the next provincial election. She estimates the parkade would cost about $40 million. In 2013, the province estimated it would need about 600 spaces, and Mowat said the Opposition would assess if more are needed in 2020.

A provincial election is expected in October.