Hospital says security ‘robust’ after nurse punched
AFTER a nurse was punched in the face at a Northern Rivers hospital last week, the local health district insists it security measures are "robust".
On August 15, a female nurse, 33, was allegedly punched in the face by a patient, 37, in the emergency department, suffering severe bruising and pain.
Northern NSW Local Health District chief executive Wayne Jones, chief executive said the organisation "has robust security measures and strict policies in place to protect staff, patients and visitors and respond to any aggressive behaviour."
"A duress alert was called, and security staff immediately assisted when a staff member was assaulted in the emergency department on the evening of August 15," he said.
"We are continuing to support this staff member, including assistance from senior management and the Workplace Health and Safety Team.
"We are also assisting police with their inquiries."
Mr Jones said while some patients may have underlying clinical conditions that can cause challenging and aggressive behaviours, "we take a zero tolerance approach to violence and aggression in our facilities".
Mr Jones said across NSW, $19 million has been invested to improve security in emergency departments at public hospitals.
"A further $5 million has been invested on duress alarms for staff in emergency departments," he said.
"At Lismore Base Hospital this includes an additional health and security assistant in the emergency department overnight and ongoing training to prepare staff for violent or aggressive behaviour."
Last week Richmond Police District Acting Inspector Anthony Smith said the incident occurred after the alleged assailant was brought into the Lismore Base Hospital emergency department via ambulance.
"As the woman was being treated she punched a nurse in the face," he said of the allegations.
"Police attended the hospital because the alleged offender needed medical attention.
"After the 37-year-old woman was treated, she was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and issued with a court attendance notice."