Claims lack of hospital security puts staff at risk denied
THE health district has rejected claims by the health union that security was not adequate at Lismore Base Hospital.
Yesterday, the Health Services Union criticised Lismore Base Hospital, saying it had hired contract security officers who were incapable of intervening in a violent situation, putting staff at risk.
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones said the use of external security providers to supplement the health security workforce was not a 'short cut measure', and was used based on staff availability, workload and assessment of the duties required at the time.
He said where additional security presence was required, additional staff are called in.
"In the majority of cases, these opportunities are offered first to our existing workforce, but where a role cannot be filled by a health staff member, an external contractor supplies staff," Mr Jones said.
"External security staff are fully licenced security officers and can and do respond to Code Blacks on the department they are assigned to, as part of the response team," he said.
He said Lismore Base Hospital was increasing its security workforce and recruitment was already underway for up to 10 new casual Health and Security Assistants and security staff.
"At Lismore Base Hospital there are two Health and Security Assistants (HSAs) allocated to the Emergency Department on every shift, 24 hours a day. These staff hold a NSW security licence," Mr Jones said.
"There are always staff members on campus who are trained in violence, prevention management, while external security contractors provide an additional support role."
Following an incident on August 23, Lismore Base Hospital increased the security in the emergency department using existing avenues, for the safety of staff and patients.
Mr Jones said Northern NSW Local Health District was in discussion with the Health Services Union on the matter.