Concord security under scrutiny

Nurses are monitoring security arrangements at Concord Hospital’s new mental health centre, which incorporates services and staff from the former Rozelle Hospital.

Rozelle staff who transferred to Concord on 30 April had been raising concerns for several months about security at the new 174 bed facility – especially the distance between Concord’s security office and the mental health centre.

The issue of security was dramatised in March when a Rozelle patient fatally stabbed another patient.

When the NSW Nurses’ Association branch at Rozelle voted not to assist with the transfer to Concord until security concerns were addressed, the South West Sydney Area Health Service took the issue to the NSW Industrial Commission.

Under an interim settlement agreed with Commissioner McLeay, NSWNA officials and management representatives are jointly monitoring security arrangements at Concord.

An additional security officer has been employed and guards are making hourly rounds of the mental health centre.

The NSWNA branch secretary at Concord’s mental health centre, Distan Bach, said nurses needed assurance that security would respond quickly to any emergency.

‘Security staff at Rozelle were able to respond quickly to the stabbing death at Rozelle, securing the building and making sure staff and other patients were safe,’ Distan said.

‘Such an extreme event reminded members of the importance of security and I think that was a catalyst for our decision not to cooperate with the move to Concord unless our concerns were taken seriously.

‘It’s good that the administration has finally agreed to work together with us to sort it out.

‘We now have a better understanding of how security officers will patrol the area, and we are gathering information to report back to members.’