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The Importance of Securing Safety for our Healthcare Workers

During this COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and communities alike have been affected in unprecedented ways; but what’s become most apparent is the need for everyone to come together in support of those on the frontlines – our healthcare workers. Australia has been doing a fantastic job to flatten the curve, with individuals doing their due diligence to socially distance themselves and stay home. However, healthcare workers have not had the luxury of working from home as they aid the most vulnerable whilst exposing themselves to sick patients every day.

As an organisation that prides itself on providing safety for all and being a force for good, Ultimate Security have been working hard to serve the NSW health department in keeping our aged care facilities protected at all costs. We provide security guards across multiple sites across the state and ensure our COVID-19 safety protocol is uncompromised.

We have acknowledged that this pandemic is impacting mental health globally.  As such, the presence of dedicated security officers with specialist training in health security supports health professionals in the management of violent behaviour and provides the resource of an immediate emergency response. Our security guards are responsible for policing aged care facilities as well as hospital buildings and grounds to prevent fire, theft, vandalism, and illegal entry. They also assist staff with unruly visitors and patients, alleviating plant safety and environmental conditions.

For all of our guards, a holistic and tailored skills and approach is required to meet the specific needs of each facility. Such a holistic approach should draw upon strategies including strong leadership, and the training of guards to enforce a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to violence towards hospital staff; allied health professionals such as paramedics, patients, visitors; and all persons located on the premises or environment.

In larger and busier hospitals, witnesses have stated that ideally a minimum complement of security should include at least four officers stationed 24 hours per day. It is essential according to the expert witnesses who gave evidence to this Inquiry, that hospitals not only employ security guards in sufficient numbers but ensure that they are deployed in areas which have the greatest risk of violence, most notably, in and adjacent to emergency departments. Where it is impracticable to locate security officers in close proximity to the emergency area, security should always be complemented by electronic and other forms of surveillance monitoring. This would be sufficient in managing and controlling hospital violence due to clinical causes, alcohol and other drug use, and mental illness; and Ultimate Security promotes strategies and technology to address all of these.

Our appreciation and responsibility towards those who risk their lives in order to take care of the most vulnerable is not taken lightly. With integrated approaches and the use of latest technologies such as thermographic cameras for measuring body temperatures; body cams to assist the guards during conflict resolutions; and effective CCTV systems to assist in minimising violence, we are striving to supply our hospitals and healthcare workers across the country with security services that are unmatched.