Union calls for greater protection after man stabs hospital staff in Western Sydney

Union calls for greater protection after man stabs hospital staff in Western Sydney
Image: Westmead Hospital. Wikimedia Commons

Unions and health workers are calling for greater protections after three security guards and a male nurse were attacked by a man armed with a knife at a hospital in Western Sydney.

The attack comes as assaults in hospitals across New South Wales are increasing, with calls mounting for greater security in emergency departments.

Police were called to Westmead Hospital yesterday at 11:30pm after four staff members were allegedly attacked by a man.

Two security guards, aged 24 and 25, were allegedly stabbed in their efforts to subdue the man, and suffered bodily cuts. They are in a stable condition.

A third security guard dislocated his shoulder and a male nurse suffered minor injuries.

The assailant is reportedly a patient and remains under police guard at the hospital.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes called for greater protections for health workers.

“This senseless violence is horrifying,” said Hayes.

“For the workers on the receiving end, the trauma will continue long after the physical scars have healed.  For the last decade we have had shootings, stabbings and flesh torn from the bodies of our members.”

“We have argued consistently for greater security numbers and powers, and will continue to push for this and better personal protective equipment,” he continued.

“It is frustrating and mystifying that so many of the recommendations  of the Anderson Inquiry into hospital security are yet to be implemented.”

In the past decade, assaults in NSW hospitals have almost doubled, increasing from 501 in 2015 to 972 this year.

Western Sydney, with rapidly expanding population and added hospitals, has seen a particularly large increase – in Penrith, hospital assaults increased from 29 in 2015 to 105 in just the first half of 2024.

 

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