New hospital security trial coming to Blacktown

Tabbetha Senior was the first patient to be treated at Blacktown Hospital’s new emergency department in August 2019.

Blacktown Hospital’s new emergency department will be one of three hospitals across the State to be part of a new security trial led by the NSW Government to keep patients and staff safe.

As part of the trial, security officers will monitor hospital emergency departments and CCTV screens around the clock, as part of a three-month trial to assess additional safeguards.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the pilot in Gosford, Wyong and Blacktown hospitals is yet another measure the NSW Government is taking to keep patients and staff safe.

“Aggression towards hospital staff is a disturbing and increasing phenomenon worldwide and as a community, we need to do our best to try and address it,” Mr Hazzard said.

“This pilot will focus on trying to identify and intervene in incidents before they escalate, which can be difficult for staff, particularly if patients are in physical or emotional pain.

“Often the aggression is not deliberate – staff are dealing with patients whose thinking may be clouded by drugs, alcohol or dementia but it doesn’t make the situation any easier.”

Western Sydney Local Health District chief executive Graeme Loy said he welcomed the opportunity for Blacktown Hospital to be part of the trial.

“The trial will commence in our new emergency department which opened in August this year and is part of the NSW Government’s $700 million Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals’ expansion project,” Mr Loy said.

“We will work with our staff to identify ways to improve our safety culture and develop systems to create a safer space for staff and patients.

“Violence at our health facilities is never okay. I thank our staff for their compassion and commitment to providing care to our community.”

NSW Health will review the trial results, alongside any recommendations from the Honourable Peter Anderson’s final report into hospital security, due in late December.

Blacktown Hospital’s new nine-storey building.

The NSW Government appointed Mr Anderson to review hospital security measures and look for any improvements that might help staff, patients and visitors feel safer.

Across NSW, $19 million has been invested to improve hospital security in EDs, upgrade CCTV systems and improve access controls between public and staff areas.

A further $5 million has provided emergency department staff with duress alarms.

Since 2010, the NSW Health security workforce has increased by 25 per cent to 1246 full time equivalent staff – 13 additional security staff are being brought on for the trial.