The Health Services Union is still waiting for the NSW government to make good on a promise in August to employ extra security staff at Wyong and Gosford hospitals.
The urgency for the extra staff was again highlighted recently when it took up to 15 people to subdue a man in the emergency department.
Every day our people are at risk, says Brendan Roberts, acting deputy manager of the Health Services Union (HSU).
“This is another example of the need for government to take these issues seriously and actually put some resources in,” he said.
In August, about 80 health workers across the Central Coast held stop work meetings to express concerns over their safety in the workplace.
They have been concerned about workers continually being subjected to violence and assault in the hospitals, at times being injured and requiring medical attention.
The union wants an increase in security staff, better training and legislative powers to restrain violent patients.
NSW government agreed to a trial of an extra 15 security officers assigned between Wyong and Gosford hospitals and a 24-hour patrol room operator to monitor CCTV cameras on site at all times.
Roberts said it didn’t go far enough, but the union was happy to try and work with it to see if it resulted in improvements.
“We’re still talking, having meetings but really nothing concrete yet, although we do know that in the next two to three weeks, the guards will be employed and trained ready to start,” Roberts said.
On Saturday, September 14, a 28-year-old man allegedly assaulted police and paramedics and was abusive towards hospital staff when being led into Wyong hospital.
He had been arrested by police after windows were broken during a domestic incident at a Hamlyn Terrace home.
Police charged the man on two counts of malicious damage (domestic violence related), three counts assault police officer, one count resist arrest, one count assault ambulance officer, one count intimidation of ambulance officer and one count affray.
The man required surgery to treat lacerations to his hands.
Charges against the man will be heard in Wyong Local Court.
Interview, Sept 18
Brendan Roberts, acting deputy manager, Health Services Union
Media statement, Sept 18
NSW Police Media Unit
Journalist, Sue Murray