Monday, 8 February 2016
Statements by Members
Violence in Hospitals
I rise to raise my concerns about the increases in violence in our hospitals. I know in my area of the North Coast of New South Wales there is a desperate need for increased security because of this. Recently there have been calls for an immediate security boost at Tweed Hospital after claims of violent attacks against staff by drug and alcohol fuelled patients. They have sharply increased in the last six months. There were three code black lockdowns in the lead-up to Christmas at the hospital due to violence against staff and 500 acts of aggression in January alone, as was reported by the hospital's Health Services Union representative Jonathan Milman. This comes after the hospital's New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association president, Sheila O'Mara, said that the facility was a 'battlefield', with over 2,000 acts of violence against staff last year. The Health Services Union has been calling for an increase in security staff at the hospital, and also for an increase in powers for those staff.
I note the recent announcement by the New South Wales health minister, Jillian Skinner, of a public hospital audit and also a roundtable, which was held today. It was very disappointing that the health minister did not attend that roundtable, and also there was a decision made to not invite the New South Wales police. As a former police officer myself, I find it appalling firstly that the minister did not show up but also that the police were not invited to this very important roundtable. Police certainly have seen first hand the impact of the increase in violence in our hospitals, and we certainly need to see a security boost in our hospitals in my region and right throughout the state due to the increases in violence we are seeing in our hospitals.