HEALTH workers are calling for a stronger security presence at Tweed Hospital following another terrifying incident involving an armed man at the Emergency Department.
Staff and patients had to be evacuated from the hospital just after 9pm Saturday night after a man allegedly began threatening staff with a large knife.
The man was reportedly acting erratically, security guards attempted to calm him down before he allegedly produced the 25cm long weapon.
Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said the incident was part of a disturbing trend at Tweed Hospital.
He said two to three knives were being confiscated every week.
“This was clearly a very dangerous situation and it was extremely fortunate that no patients or staff were injured,” he said.
“The number of knives being confiscated at Tweed Hospital is significantly greater than at any other hospitals in the Northern Rivers region.”
Witnesses said the man waved the knife in an aggressive manner, chased workers and patients into a carpark and threatened people in an nearby restaurant.
The man was arrested and later sedated by Tweed Heads police, while in custody he suffered a cardiac arrest and was transported to the Gold Coast University Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition.
A female police officer was injured during the man’s arrest and required treatment at the same hospital.
Mr Hayes said this and other dangerous situations highlighted the urgent need for more security guards.
“Extra measures need to be put in place to ensure patients and workers at Tweed Hospital are safe at all times,” he said.
“That’s why the HSU is urgently calling on the Northern NSW Local Health District to hire an additional permanent security guard for the Tweed Hospital Emergency Department waiting room.
“Strengthening the hospital’s security presence will provide a highly-visible deterrent to stop these incidents from happening, and also ensure that quick action can be taken to de-escalate potential threats.”
This is not the first time health workers have sought extra protection at the Tweed Hospital.
Earlier this month the Gold Coast Bulletin revealed that two nurses were on workers compensation and eight had resigned this year as a result of assaults.
At the time the Nurses Union complained staff numbers were not meeting the needs of high-risk patients.
Police inquires into the incident that occurred Saturday night continue, no charges have been laid.
Source: Gold Coast Bulletin