Action bid after hospital threat

AN incident at Canterbury Hospital last Thursday has sparked calls for urgent action on security.

A 35-year-old man is facing charges on a number of offences after allegedly threatening a taxi driver with an imitation firearm outside Canterbury Hospital.
A spokesperson for the hospital said a full complement of security staff had been on duty, and the man was arrested by police after an “uneventful” visit to a clinic, located outside the hospital, which was covered by CCTV.
“The safety of our staff and patients is paramount and violence in our hospitals is not tolerated,” she said.
In November, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard initiated a review into hospital security by Peter Anderson, and his interim report containing 48 initial recommendations, was released in February with a final report due later in the year.
However, Health Services Union (HSU) NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said there had been another seven serious assaults since this month’s strike highlighting the issue by hospital workers. He called for the urgent addition of 250 security officers with special constable powers and appropriate training across the state.
“Hospital workers are sick of being treated as punching bags,” he said.
State MP for Canterbury, Sophie Cotsis, said she was very concerned that the incident at Canterbury Hospital could have been far worse and called for “additional staff, particularly security staff, and for improved training programs to deal with challenging patients”.
She said in 2017-18, there were 529 reported assaults in NSW hospitals, almost 40 per month.
“Hospital staff across NSW are angry and concerned for their safety, as well as that of their colleagues, patients and the general public,” she said.