SAFETY at Horsham’s Wimmera Base Hospital will receive a much-needed boost, with the health care group set to employ more security guards.
The Wimmera Health Care Group has received money from the state government to employ 4.6 full-time equivalent security guards.
Group chief executive Catherine Morley said it was great news for the hospital.
“The health department is very much about keeping our workplaces safe and they put out a request for applications – we applied and were very excited to receive about $190,000 to allow us to increase our security guards,” she said.
Ms Morley said the hospital currently had two guards during the day, one in the evening and one at night.
“This money will allow us to increase our evening and night guards,” she said.
“These guards will support our teams working in the emergency department, as well as ambulance staff and the community.
“While we would love it if everyone could come in to the hospital and be respectful, unfortunately that’s not the case and often people have illnesses or are unwell and don’t behave like you think they will.”
Ms Morley said there had been a number of serious incidents at the hospital’s emergency department in the past few months.
“We’ve put a lot of time and energy into making our buildings more secure – we have a lock down at 5pm now, which is good, but it is also an inconvenience to our community members who need to come and see us.
“It’s a really fine line we are trying to balance.”
Ms Morley said the new guards would also take the pressure off the existing security team.
“We’ve had a couple of serious incidents and we know we can keep people safe by having two security guards on at all times," she said.
“It allows them to be in two places at once.
“It would be nice to not need them, but that’s not how it works in the real world unfortunately.”
Health Minister Jill Hennessy said up to 95 per cent of health care workers in Victoria had experienced physical or verbal attacks while simply doing their job caring for others and saving lives.
“There is just no excuse whatsoever for aggression towards staff in our hospitals,” she said.
“Like us all, our dedicated doctors and nurses deserve to feel safe at work.
“Sadly, too often health workers are confronted with abuse and threats, all while doing their best caring for us at our most vulnerable.”
“Hospital staff, as well as patients and visitors, can rest assured our government is committed to stamping out aggression towards health workers.”