Poorly trained security staff at one of Queensland's biggest hospitals aren't able to cope with violent patients and could be dumped amid concerns they are putting nurses in danger.
One of the state's nursing lobby groups said nurse reports of the violence have prompted it to call on Princess Alexandra Hospital to bump up the quality of security staff.
Jack McGuire from the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland said the "outsourced" security guards are ill-equipped to deal with violent patients.
Nurses are being exposed to violence from out-of-control patients, some of whom are drug-affected and appear to have "almost superhuman strength", he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
"The security just aren't up to scratch, unfortunately – they're more the shopping centre-style security that you would see walking around patrolling a food court," he said. "So when they're presented with a seriously violent patient, it's the nurses unfortunately that need to pick up the slack and they end up getting themselves into pretty hairy situations."
PA is now looking at bringing security back in-house so they can train the staff to deal with violent patients, he said.
McGuire said PA had indicated it would look at rolling out the new security regime – which did not necessarily include arming guards – in the next few months.
However, he said if violence against staff was a state-wide issue that needed to also be addressed in other regions.
"There are systemic issues in Queensland Health but this is one that seriously needs to be looked at before there is an accident and a nurse gets seriously hurt," he said.
Queensland Health and the PA Hospital have been contacted for comment.Do you have an idea for a story?
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