Call for security at Princess Alexandra Hospital

Highly trained security guards to protect doctors, nurses at Princess Alexandra Hospital

HIGHLY trained security guards will be brought in to protect doctors and nurses from violent assaults at one of Queensland’s biggest hospitals, as the number of physical and verbal attacks on medics skyrocket.

The Princess Alexandra Hospital will beef-up security, including specialised guards, after calls for “paramilitary style” security.

The hospital has been in negotiations with the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland over the safety of staff and has agreed that security at the hospital needs to change.

NPAQ assistant secretary Jack McGuire said nurses “lives had been put at risk” from repeated and violent attacks from patients.

He said a “paramilitary style of security” was needed to ensure the safety of staff.

“Nurses lives have been at risk – we know of a number of cases where they are being regularly assaulted and punched,” he said.

“Up until now, nurses have had to rely on the equivalent of shopping-centre security personnel to protect them.

“But these violent emergency wards really need more of a paramilitary style of security to be effective.”

Hospital security has been a long-running concern across the state.

In November last year, Tyson Jessen, 28, a wanted armed robber, was shot dead by Senior Constable Leesa Richardson when he violently attacked her as she guarded him at Ipswich Hospital.

A hero nurse ran in and attacked Jessen while he was slamming Constable Richardson’s head into the ground.

Metro South Health chief executive Dr Stephen Ayre said there had been an increase in verbal and physical aggression at the hospital.

“Verbal abuse, threats and physical assaults against our staff are not acceptable and will not be tolerated,” he said. “The overwhelming majority of our patients and visitors are respectful and appreciate the care provided by our staff.”

Dr Stephen Ayre confirmed the security contract for Metro South expired this year but would not comment on the NPAQ’s claims that it would bring security back in house.

He said the hospital had implemented several measures to address assaults on staff including duress alarms, CCTV and extra training .

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