Hospital security gets $600,000
DRUNKS, drug abusers and other violent patients will be targeted with an immediate $600,000 cash injection by Queensland Health into the emergency department of Bundaberg Hospital.
Security will be pumped up and made more visible, with a dedicated guard put on duty in the department between 5pm and midnight - a period director general of health Mick Reid yesterday identified as being of “highest risk”.
The layout of the emergency department will be reconfigured at a cost of $250,000 and include an area set aside for children and babies so the young do not mix with abusive, drunk, drugged or other violent adults in the main area.
The announcement came with the release of a second report into the current health scandal, triggered by a whistleblower nurse's allegations relating to incidents in the emergency department.
The report, by Dr Peter Brennan, identified issues which had been the subject of recommendations after the 2005 health crisis, but had not been fixed. They included processes around discharging patients, and the triage process for ranking patients.
It was labelled “crisis funding as part of the election” by the Australian Medical Association Queensland (AMAQ), but nonetheless welcomed from all sides of politics.
“Whether the troublemakers are high or on drugs or drunk, that seems to be where they congregate,” the Australian Services Union, which has been lobbying for extra security, said of the emergency department.
The money would come out of the current budget and would be spent immediately, Health Minister Stephen Robertson said.
The same pledge was made by Mr Reid, who promised two extra administrative staff and a security officer for the emergency area at an annual cost of $350,000.
He said the skills of the nursing staff would be utilised properly, something which the report identified was not happening.
Mr Reid also pledged to tackle the triage and patient discharge issues.
A three-page report from the Queensland Health Ethical Standards Unit was also released yesterday.
It found allegations around patient data falsification and triage roles and treatment by administrative staff to be unsubstantiated.
But Dr Chris Davis, president of the AMAQ, said not being “substantiated” did not mean the allegations were without foundation.
“Queensland Health has at least admitted that there were serious systemic faults,” Member for Burnett Rob Messenger said.
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