15 October 2018

NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley has committed to an additional 250 security staff as part of Labor’s four-point plan to boost security at NSW hospitals to protect staff, patients and families.

Mr Foley was joined by Health Services Union Secretary Gerard Hayes whose long-running campaign for greater security in hospitals has been met with silence from the Berejiklian Government.

HSU members working at hospitals across the state have been subject to numerous attacks.

The announcement comes as the latest official figures reveal that in the last 12 months there have been 6 assaults on staff, patients and families at Auburn Hospital. 

Labor’s four-point plan includes:

           Employing an additional 250 Health Security Staff in its first term;

           Upgrading all hospital security officers to “Health Security Staff” with additional powers similar to Special Constables who can carry weapons such as pepper spray and batons;

           Providing extra training for Health Security Staff, including skills to defuse hostile situations; and

           Creating a specialist Secure Hospitals Unit within NSW Health to oversee the activity of new health security staff and conduct safety audits of the State’s more than 200 hospitals - especially the State’s more than 80 emergency departments.

Over the last five years, assaults have increased by 33 per cent to around 50 every month, in part due to the prevalence of ice, drugs and alcohol in the community, as well as the Liberal Government’s failure to properly support patients grappling with mental illness.

Currently, hospital security officers report of regular understaffing and often no security is present at any given time in emergency wards or entire hospitals.

Labor believes that health workers and patients deserve safe hospitals and work places.

Labor will be announcing further information on security staff closer to the March 2019 election.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“I congratulate Gerard Hayes and the HSU members for their long standing campaign to improve security in our hospitals.

“Hospital staff should have safe workplaces and patients should feel safe when seeking medical care.

“It’s the responsibility of the NSW Government to protect health workers and patients inside NSW hospitals. This Liberal National Government has failed. A Labor Government will act.”

“The Liberals have been sitting on their hands as violence increases in our state’s hospitals.

“The Berejiklian Government is refusing to take action to secure Auburn hospital and make it a place of safety - where patient care can come first.

“Doctors, nurses and health and hospital workers are passionately committed to patient care – but we must protect them so they can do their jobs.”

“More security guards mean that patients, their families and hard-working staff will have safer working and treatment environments.”


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