24/7 restraint-trained security guards at regional hospitals remains a priority 

4 August 2022

Regional police officers have been called to another violent incident involving a patient, highlighting why the ANMF (SA Branch) is continuing to advocate for full-time restraint-trained security staff at country hospitals.

It occurred at a regional hospital on Saturday July 30 and will be the third violent incident reported to SafeWork SA in the space of three months. 

Our sustained lobbying has previously seen restraint-trained security guards installed at Whyalla and Port Augusta hospitals and there is evidence this initiative has improved behaviour and safety at these sites.

We have also agitated for de-escalation and restraint training for staff which has occurred at numerous hospitals.

“But it is the presence of restraint-trained security guards that will make the biggest difference for nurses, midwives and personal care workers,” ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars said.

“We applause SAPOL for their support but we need a security presence on site to ensure a swift response.

“It is not acceptable that the safety our members is put in jeopardy while serving their community and undertaking their daily duties.”

The ANMF (SA Branch) is in regular communication with SafeWork SA, SA Health and local health networks while it has received support from the State Government for its 10-point plan to combat and aggression and violence.

We are also developing stronger relationships with regional Health Safety Representatives, ensuring an improved reporting of incidents.

Premier Peter Malinauskas endorsed the 10-point plan while addressing our Annual Professional Conference on Thursday, August 4.

“We want to make sure that you can come to work, not even having to cross your mind that your physical safety, or even safety from abuse, could be compromised, ” Mr Malinauskas told conference participants.

Violence in hospitals was thrust under the spotlight when we launched our safety campaign Safer Nurses = Safer Care following a spate of violent attacks against Port Lincoln staff.

It involved a public awareness demonstration on the Port Lincoln Foreshore earlier this year and a 1500-signature petition. 

ANMF (SA Branch) continues to advocate for the presence of restraint-trained security guards across CHSA sites and has recently escalated these ongoing concerns with the Minister for Health. 

“We are in continuing discussions with SA Health to ensure that our members are adequately protected when on site. We will not stop agitating until we are satisfied that our members are safe”.