How can Lismore Base Hospital avoid attacks on their staff?
AGGRESSIVE behaviour and threats to physical and emotional well-being are are becoming a persistent risk for health workers, despite efforts to ensure their safety.
A female nurse is recovering from an incident over the weekend where an 85-year old patient allegedly threatened her with a pair of scissors.
The matter is being investigated by police.
It is the latest in a string of serious incidents at the hospital.
In November last year, a woman wielded a syringe at hospital staff.
She pleaded guilty to using an offensive weapon to commit an indictable offence and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after the incident, and is now awaiting a psychological assessment before her sentencing.
The woman was initially a patient and has been in custody since her arrest.
Last June, a 14-year-old boy accused of causing $7000 worth of damage at the hospital faced Lismore Children's Court.
He was on charges of break-and-enter, negligent driving, intimidating police, two counts of destroying or damaging property, two counts of taking and driving a vehicle without consent, common assault, stalking or intimidation and other related offences.
In March this year, a 43-year-old man was shot and killed by Corrective Services outside the hospital. Investigations are still under way.
At the time, Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said urgent action was needed to ensure public hospitals were safe and secure.
Last December, Lismore Base Hospital workers imposed a temporary a ban on processing payments of Medicare and private health insurance claims, to protest what they called was management's failure to provide any additional dedicated security staff following a number of serious incidents.
Northern NSW Local Health District's chief executive, Wayne Jones, this week said it was imperative for staff to work in a safe environment.
"The district has strict policies in place in regard to the protection of people and responding to aggressive behaviour by patients and individuals presenting to the hospital,” he said.
"The NSW Government appointed Honourable Peter Anderson to review security in NSW hospitals and his interim report was released in February this year.
"The district has already started work locally to implement security improvements in response to the interim recommendations and will await the final report due later this year.”