NSW nurses are calling for an urgent shake-up of the way hospital security is managed after a police officer and security guard were shot inside Nepean Hospital.
Michael de Guzman, 39, allegedly held a doctor hostage with a pair of scissors before shooting a NSW police officer and hospital security guard who had come to her aid.
The police process of leaving aggressive or violent patients inside a hospital without the supervision of an appropriately trained security officer or police officer must stop, the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association says.
De Guzman had been granted bail just hours before the alleged attack, after being charged with assaulting two police officers and breaking into a house.
It’s believed police officers had dropped him off at Nepean Hospital before the incident inside the emergency department.
The NSWNMA has called for an urgent review of the police drop-off system and urged Health Minister Jillian Skinner to meet with Police Minister Troy Grant to address the issue.
Ms Skinner is also being called on to reinstate the Special Constable status for security staff to allow them greater powers to detain violent or aggressive patients.
Acting General Secretary of the NSWNMA, Judith Kiejda, said the rising issue of violence in public hospitals dominated a meeting of more than 140 union delegates this week.
“The more we look into the issue of violence, the more horror stories and evidence comes to light of just how bad the situation is in our public hospital system,” Ms Kiejda said.
“From the husband of a labouring woman who repeatedly threatened nursing staff and then theatre staff during an emergency caesarean, a methylamphetamine- (ice) affected patient who removed a hospital ward door from its hinges,” she said.
Decorated dog squad officer Luke Warburton, 39, suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound to his upper thigh during the incident but is making a good recovery in hospital.
Security guard Barry Jennings, 48, is also recovering well after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound.
De Guzman, who once worked as a nurse at Westmead Hospital, was refused bail on Thursday last week after being charged with several offences including shooting with intent to murder.
He’s due to face court again on March 4.
Following a meeting with the Health Services Union on Thursday, Ms Skinner proposed several extra security measures to deal with hospital violence.
Additional security staff would be provided to hospitals with a “demonstrated increased need”, she said.
New training sessions will also commence in March for clinical and security staff working in emergency departments with a high level of ice-affected patients.
Ms Skinner ruled out giving equipment such as batons and handcuffs to security staff.
But she said a review of how police address aggression from drug or alcohol-affected patients would be conducted.