Security Win For Blacktown ED Nurses

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Security review after nurse attack delivers permanent 24/7 security in Blacktown ED.

Blacktown Hospital Branch is celebrating the outcome of a security review by hospital management, which delivered permanent 24/7 security in the Hospital’s Emergency Department.

The review recommended either an officer/wardsman position or a Clinical Initiatives Nurse who would be situated in the waiting room to de-escalate situations. NSWNA members overwhelmingly endorsed the option of a Health Security Assistant (HASA) 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the ED.

The review followed a knife attack on a nurse in ED on the evening of 12 July.

In a letter to the Chief Executive of Western Sydney Local Health District (LHD), members in the ED demanded that the security position is permanent and the person is an employee of the LHD, and reports to the NUM of ED. They asked to write the position description to specifically meet the needs of ED, and stipulated that the position must be specifically designated to the ED and is not a hospital-based position.

‘We request a review in six months to be assured that this HASA position is working effectively for the members of the ED. The members overwhelmingly accept this offer and thank you for it,’ the letter said.

In addition to the security win, patients will now receive their main meal in the middle of the day, instead of the evening, and their night meal will comprise soup or sandwiches, which does not require cutlery. Any cutlery not being used at the lunchtime meal – such as when patients go to have tests – will be securely locked away in a newly-installed cupboard in the ED. Meals will also now be distributed by domestics instead of nurses to relieve nurses’ workloads issues.

All staff in the ED will also receive on-site aggression minimisation training. Currently, a two-day program is being investigated.

‘This is an excellent outcome,’ said NSWNA General Secretary Brett Holmes. ‘Nurses deserve to be safe when they are at work, and it is good to see Western Sydney LHD take the concerns of Blacktown ED nurses seriously.’