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Security guards will reduce ‘violence and aggression’ at Murray Bridge hospital
The Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network has agreed to provide guards around the clock in response to a campaign by nurses and midwives.
Security guards will soon be stationed at the Murray Bridge hospital 24-seven in response to recent “violence and aggression” by patients.
In one case, a patient reportedly woke up, barged into a nurses’ station and assaulted a nurse with an oxygen cylinder, according to the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation.
About 1200 people had signed a petition, started by the union, calling for security guards trained in restraining people to be stationed at the hospital around the clock.
The Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network answered the call on Thursday morning, announcing that recruitment of full-time security guards would start immediately.
ANMF spokeswoman Elizabeth Dabars AM described that as a “great win” for staff, patients and visitors.
“We applaud the board of the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network for listening to members’ concerns and we congratulate our members for their sustained campaigning, as well as … Murray Bridge community for supporting our 10-point plan to end violence and aggression and our online petition for security guards,” she said.
In the meantime, LHN CEO Wayne Champion said, contracted security guards would continue to be stationed at the hospital at the times when they were most needed.
“We are committed to providing a safe working environment for our staff, patients, and visitors in our hospitals,” he said.
“The RMC LHN has listened to the concerns raised by unions and staff and made the decision to implement full-time security personnel at (Murray Bridge) as soon as practicable.
“We look forward to working with staff and unions to implement the full-time permanent security staff and will keep the community updated on the details following the completion of the review.”
State Health Minister Chris Picton said he supported the local health network’s decision.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our healthcare workers, who do an amazing job in helping the community,” he said.
“Staff should feel confident that they are safe and protected from violent and aggressive behaviour, and having on-site security staff available to respond immediately to incidents will help achieve this.”
Guards will also be stationed at hospitals in Berri and Port Pirie; security had already been increased at other regional hospitals.
“We have already had very positive feedback from Wallaroo Hospital about the introduction of security guards, particularly with staff being escorted to their cars after finishing their shift at night,’’ Ms Dabars said.
In the 12 months after guards were introduced at Whyalla and Port Augusta, according to SA Health data published by the union, reports of staff being hit fell by 52 per cent and the number of incidents causing injury to a staff member dropped by 62.5%.
Sign the petition: www.anmfsa.org.au.
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