Legislative Council: Wednesday, July 03, 2019


Hospital Security

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the government implement in full the 10-point plan for improving hospital security put forward by the nurses' association following the brutal stabbing of a nurse at the Lyell McEwin Hospital last week?

The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (14:56): I thank the honourable member for his question. I would reiterate that both the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation and the Marshall Liberal government share a strong commitment to ensure that the workplace for South Australian health workers is safe.

The assault outside the Lyell McEwin Hospital on 24 June was very disappointing. Following that assault, I have spoken to management at the Lyell McEwin site. Additional security guards were put in place to patrol the hospital grounds overnight on 24 June. There were information sessions on staff safety and wellbeing scheduled, I think, for this week. There's an internal review of current risk controls. It is pleasing that the alleged attacker has been arrested and charged in relation to the incident.

To clarify, the honourable member's question implied that the 10-point plan was issued in response to the assault; that is not my understanding. The 10-point plan is—in fact, to be frank, it is more than 10 points—a very comprehensive overview of suggested initiatives by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation. Certainly, SA Health has engaged the ANMF and the ANMF have been vigorous advocates for SA Health changes in the way that SA Health equips staff to maintain a safe workplace and also in the way that complaints are managed.

A number of aspects of the material provided by the ANMF have been incorporated into SA Health material, but I think it is clear that the ANMF believes that more should be done. I will continue to engage both the ANMF and the department to make sure that we are taking opportunities, as I said, to equip staff and to maintain a safe workplace but also to support staff when they are the victims of assaults.

I think it is also worth highlighting that the 10-point plan is particularly focused on safety within the hospital environment. This assault occurred on or near a public road. Of course, the safety of a hospital does not stop at the hospital door, and it is important that we keep the hospital precincts safe. I will just clarify that most of the focus in terms of hospital safety is inside the hospitals.

In relation to the Lyell McEwin precinct, it is a particularly challenging one because the precinct is bounded on four sides by public roads. One of the issues that this particular assault highlighted was the need to look again at lighting. The assault occurred near what I understand was the old Lyell McEwin Hospital entrance on Haydown Road, and my understanding is that one of the issues raised by this assault is whether we need to enhance lighting right around the precinct.