Safe and secure: Minister announces review of NSW hospitals

A new hospital security review is under way.

The safety of staff, patients and visitors in NSW public hospitals will be freshly scrutinised in a new security review announced today by Health Minister Brad Hazzard.

The review will be headed by a former Health and Police Minister, Peter Anderson. He is also a former police officer, and for eight years was Professor and Director of the Centre for Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism at Macquarie University.

“Nearly three million patients go through our emergency departments every year and our hospitals provide some of the best health care in the world,” Mr Hazzard said.

“A small number of those patients, along with a similarly small number of authorised and unauthorised visitors, present a danger to staff and other patients.

“While there’s been a lot done in recent years to improve security and in response to violence, I have asked Peter Anderson to look at everything we are currently doing.

“If Mr Anderson finds gaps in the current approach or comes up with new ideas the NSW Government will take the opportunity to make our hospitals even more secure,” Mr Hazzard said.

Mr Anderson said he welcomed the opportunity to assist.

“I will be consulting widely with staff, unions and professional associations to inform my recommendations.  I commend the NSW Government for establishing this review,”  Mr Anderson said.

The review will appraise the 12 point plan on hospital security, put in place in 2016. It will also consider any additional statewide strategies to improve security.

The NSW Government has also implemented the following security measures:

  • $19 million has been invested to improve security at emergency departments, including upgrading CCTV systems and installing remote locking
  • $5 million has been invested to upgrade personal duress alarms for staff in emergency departments across NSW, which they must wear while on duty
  • A social media campaign has commenced to spread the message that violence against health workers is never OK

“We’ve worked hard to build the hospitals of the future and we are working just as hard to have the safest workplaces possible for our frontline staff and patients,” Mr Hazzard said.

Mr Anderson is due to report back on his review in late February 2019.

The terms of reference can be found here: