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May 10, 2021

HSU calls for action to ensure public hospitals are safe

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The shooting at Lismore Base Hospital on Friday evening has shocked health workers at the hospital, and further afield.

The Health Services Union (HSU) says the shooting underscores the need for urgent, serious action to ensure NSW public hospitals are safe and secure.

Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes says the incident was the third shooting at a NSW public hospital in three years.

‘While it is inappropriate to comment on the specific circumstances surrounding this incident, hospital workers have a number of concerns about protocols involving the management of prisoners in public hospitals,’ said Mr Hayes.

‘This incident must be subject to a thorough investigation – not only to get to the bottom of what happened, but to identify what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

‘Clearly there must be a review of the protocols for the management of prisoners who are brought into hospitals by Corrective Services.

Mr Hayes said an example would be, hospital security staff bing given adequate notice of a prisoner transfer so that appropriate precautions can be put into place prior to the prisoner arriving.

‘Broader failures in hospital security are undermining public confidence in the NSW hospital system,’ he said. ‘It is absolutely essential that our hospitals are safe and secure. Safe for patients, visitors and workers alike.

‘The NSW Government’s recent report into hospital security was, sadly, another lost opportunity to address the increasing violence in our public health system.’

Mr Hayes said that HSU will continue to revisit the past mistakes into the future if nothing changes.

Mr Hayes praised Lismore Base Hospital staff for their bravery and dedication in responding to last night’s incidents.

‘The paramedic and Health and Safety Assistants who were first in the scene acted with courage, and did everything they could to save the life of the prisoner who was shot,’ he said.

Mr Hayes said that incidents such as last Friday’s are traumatic for all involved. ‘HSU was at the hospital Saturday morning to ensure our members are receiving support and counselling.’

Richmond Police District is investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident, assisted by the NSWPF Corrective Services Investigation Unit (CSIU), and the SCC Homicide Squad.

Investigators are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the incident – or has relevant dashcam vision – and who has not yet spoken with police, to contact Lismore Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report crime via NSW Police social media pages


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