SUE Gilroy, Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate for the upcoming Upper Hunter by-election said it elected, she will call for two additional security personnel in the Scone and Muswellbrook Hospitals to make sure frontline healthcare staff are safe at work.
Scone and Muswellbrook hospitals are without 24 hour security, with staff having to take over security roles for a majority of the week.
“Our healthcare workers are our frontline. I as a nurse, know what it’s like to fear for your safety in a workplace,” Ms Gilroy said.
“Often our nurses, our frontline workers, are female and small in stature. If you get a big guy coming in to the emergency department, you can’t deal with that if you don’t have security to back you up,” she said.
“I’ve been there, I’ve had to deal with it. Dealing with a violent patient is really difficult number one, really uncomfortable number two and you do fear for your safety. That shouldn’t happen,” she said.
“New South Wales Health as a PCBU (person conducting a business or undertaking) have obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act to keep their people safe every day as they come to work,” said Ms Gilroy.
Healthcare is a major focus for Ms Gilroy, with focus also aimed towards the lack of health services for severely ill members within the community as well as expecting mothers.
“Along my journey I’ve spoken to parents who are required to travel as far as John Hunter hospital to treat their children as well as mothers who can’t give birth in their local hospitals due to the lack of services in our community,” she said.
“The Upper Hunter contributes millions to the state, yet we’re forgotten and neglected when it comes to essentials like healthcare,” she said.
“Last year we had 818 assaults in NSW hospitals, up 23 percent year on year,” she said.
“It’s time to hold the Liberal National Government to account for the neglect they’ve shown,” said Ms Gilroy.
Ms Gilroy will also hold the government to account for recommendations made in Peter Anderson’s hospital security review last year.
“I’ve mentioned before we’ve had a review into our hospital security by Peter Anderson, a report with 107 recommendations handed down in February 2020,” Ms Gilroy said.
“When we’ve got a code black for example, staff either can’t respond or they have to leave a patient,” she said.
“What is the government doing about those recommendations? Because we’ve still got problems with our hospital security, particularly in Muswellbrook and Scone,” she said.
Member for Barwon Roy Butler said he contributed to the inquiry recommendations, which have been neglected by the government for more than a year.
“Perter Anderson’s inquiry, report and recommendations was specifically focused on security in hospitals. I contributed to his inquiry, he came and met with me in my office and we gave him feedback from nurses and health staff across the electorate,” Mr Butler said.
“The report is finalised, the 107 recommendations have been made and the government has been sitting on it since February 2020,” he said.
Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes has previously slammed the NSW Government for its current hospital security standards.
“There is a constant risk of violence at hospitals due to drug and alcohol affected patients as well as those suffering from mental health issues. That is why it is essential for security staff to be in place at all times,” Mr Hayes said.
“It is not good enough to have security staff on for just three nights of the week and some afternoons with the hope local police officers can fill the void,” he said.
Mr Gilroy said adding more security to hospitals would alleviate pressures on police and ambulance services who are currently relied on for security assistance.
“Both our ambulance service and paramedics spend time transport patents and our police spend time away from the station transporting prisoners, all of that takes away from the station and delays response time,” Ms Gilroy said.
“Really, if there is security in the hospitals, that would minimise the impact on the ambulance and the police service,” she said.
For more information on where candidates stand: Voting 101: Upper Hunter by-election.