24/7 security call

Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Regional Hospital. File picture: The Geraldton Guardian
Camera IconGeraldton Regional Hospital. File picture: The Geraldton Guardian

Member for Geraldton Ian Blayney has accused the State Government of failing its duty of care to provide a safe working environment at Geraldton Hospital following a vicious assault on a nurse.

Mr Blayney said the Health Minister needed to immediately allocate funding to provide 24/7 security at the Mid West’s biggest hospital.

“This assault is not an isolated incident and figures obtained by The Nationals WA in Parliament show a growing trend of ‘code black’ incidents at Geraldton Hospital,” he said.

“Trained security staff and extra security measures need to be implemented at Geraldton as a priority to ensure the safety of patients, staff and visitors.”

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said $382,500 had been allocated to increase the “on-site security presence” at Geraldton Health Campus. “The increased presence will support the existing seven-day-a week security service as well as ongoing ground patrols,” he said.

“Security of staff is further assured through a range of other strategies, including duress alarms, newly updated CCTV surveillance and safe rooms.”

According to Mr Blayney, there were 79 “code black” incidents recorded at Geraldton Hospital from January 2017 to August 2019, which he said was the second highest recorded at a regional hospital in WA.

A code black emergency is activated in response to a person threatening harm to others or themselves.

Mr Cook said the number of code black emergencies recorded had risen from 28 last year to 63 this year up until November 30. He said the higher figure came about because health staff had been encouraged to “proactively” call security early for the safety of patients, visitors and staff.

“This will result in a higher number of code black instances reported at Geraldton Health Campus year on year,” he said.

“It forms part of our ongoing strategy to reduce incidents of harm and prevent escalation.”

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