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Byron Shire
April 19, 2024

Tweed Hospital staff stop work over disciplined security guards

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Chris Dobney

HSU members at Tweed Hospital are conducting a one-hour stop work meeting today over the treatment of two security officers who, the union says, have been disciplined over the way they conducted a violence prevention training program.

HSU public health manager David Perry told Echonetdaily the pair had been formally warned by Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSW LHD) for screening CCTV footage showing officers controlling violent and aggressive patients at the hospital during a closed, in-house training session.

The LHD claimed they had breached confidentiality by screening the footage but Mr Perry said it was purely to demonstrate violence control techniques to attendees and the video was ‘so blurry’ nobody could be identified in it.

‘We think it’s extremely unfair, particularly as we’ve been in negotiations with the ministry of health over a 12-point action plan, which was initiated by previous health minister Jillian Skinner, to improve the training of security officers,’ Mr Perry said.

‘The training session was approved. They were training other health staff in a closed, in-house training environment and the footage was used specifically to identify how to safely deal with a violent, aggressive patient.

‘It’s not like they showed it at the pub.’

Mr Perry said ‘the patients couldn’t be identified, their names weren’t identified, the footage was so blurry you couldn’t even identify who the people were.’

He has called for an apology from NNSW LHD CEO Wayne Jones and for the formal warning issued as part of the disciplinary action to be withdrawn.

‘We’re happy for the health district to change the way it does its training programs but to have two people formally disciplined for doing nothing more than trying to train security officers in how to deal with violent and aggressive patients, we think is the thin edge of the wedge.

Mr Perry said that unless and until the disciplinary action is withdrawn, there will be similar rolling stoppages at hospitals across the north coast.

Echonetdaily contacted NNSW LHD but no comment was received by deadline.

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