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 outside Prince of Wales Hospital today to announce the commitment to bolster hospital security if Labor wins government in March 2019.

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

Last week, Mr Foley and Mr Hayes flagged the need for significantly increasing the number of security staff following another violent incident at Nepean Hospital, which further highlighted the need for the NSW Government to beef up security at the State’s hospitals.

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 cancarry 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.

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. 

“A State Government with the right priorities would have listened and acted long before now. 

“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.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord

“Patients affected by alcohol and ice are a threat to our health workers and other patients – we must give security staff the tools to protect us all.

“The Berejiklian Government has been sitting on its hands as violence increases in our state’s hospitals.

“The Berejiklian Government is refusing to take action to secure our hospitals and make them places 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.”