Special constables will guard hospitals: Labor's pledge
LISMORE Base Hospital may soon have as many security guards with improved powers as it needs.
Visiting New South Wales Labor leader Michael Daley has promised that if he wins the state election next March, 250 new security guards will be assigned to rural and regional hospitals with all guards possessing beefed-up powers allowing them to lawfully arrest people.
Standing outside the hospital yesterday morning, Mr Daley met with the Labor candidate for Lismore, Janelle Saffin, where they spoke with a delegation of Health Services Union members.
Mr Daley said LBH would be a priority to receive guards with new powers under the special constable model.
"We will have 250 more security guards across New South Wales," he said.
"Assaults on staff and patients at this hospital are on the rise and this is not acceptable; the staff and nurses need to look after patients not over their back to see if they will be attacked.
"At the moment hospital security guards can't really arrest and detain people, so we will use the special constable model, backed up with new training, equipment and fully furnished with all the legal powers they need to get the job done."
Mr Daley said security guards working for NSW Health sites were trying to do their job with "one arm tied behind their back".
"If I become Premier I will sit down with Janelle - who will be the new local member - the staff and the community and you'll get as many security guards as you need to keep people safe," he said.
Ms Saffin said it was critical hospital staff felt safe and were able to do their jobs without feeling frightened.
Mr Daley also met with Ballina Labor candidate Asren Pugh to discuss the need for all schools in the state to be given funding for air-conditioning.
The pair met outside Alstonville High School, which Mr Pugh said had only 13 of its 42 areas fitted with air-conditioning.