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Friday, June 18, 2021

Hunter hospital security report welcomed

Wallsend state MP Sonia Hornery has welcomed a report into improvements to security in hospitals across NSW, particularly the John Hunter and Calvary Mater Newcastle facilities.

The chronicle, completed by former NSW Minister for Health Peter Anderson AM, looked at ways to better protect and safeguard the welfare of hospital staff, visitors and patients.

He interviewed key stakeholders, including employees, unions, local members of parliament and police, in preparing his comprehensive report.

And, it found hospitals were facing increased risks, including dealing with angry or ice-affected patients and treating weapon-inflicted injuries.

Now, Ms Hornery is calling on current health minister Brad Hazzard to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible.

“I have been asking for more security guards, better training and the authority to detain violent patients at the John Hunter and Mater hospitals,” she said.

“Health ministers have conducted a number of reviews but no action has been taken to employ additional staff and improve training.

“This report by Peter Anderson is very welcome and addresses many of the issues that staff and security have raised with me over the years.

“I spent a number of hours speaking with Peter.

“So, I am pleased that he has taken on board the issues that I raised with him.

“Hospital staff, including security, have been kicked, punched, shot and stabbed, with an incident at the Mater hospital in May 2019 that saw a guard stabbed with scissors.”

Ms Hornery said Mr Anderson’s recommendations call for a reduction in the use of contract security staff, the hiring of more permanent staff, and a boost to security numbers in some rural and regional hospitals.

“The minister has the report, the third since 2012, and I am asking him to get on with implementing the recommendations as soon as possible,” she added.

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