Posted on 09. Dec, 2011 in News

In an embarrassing blow to Premier Baillieu’s leadership, a Government-dominated committee has condemned the Government’s plan to put 120 armed Protective Services Officers (PSOs) in hospital emergency departments as a safety risk.

The Shadow Minister for Health, Gavin Jennings, said Parliament’s Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee had recommended Mr Baillieu dump the ill-conceived plan promised during last year’s election.

“Since the plan was proposed, doctors, nurses, hospital staff and security personnel have universally condemned the proposal as dangerous – we don’t need guns in hospitals,” Mr Jennings said.

“And today, a Government-dominated parliamentary committee report has come to the same conclusion following a lengthy investigation.

“The Premier has broken many promises to Victorians since coming to office and I can understand his reluctance to break any more.

“But in the interests of the safety of hospital patients and staff, this is one promise he must not keep.

“Mr Baillieu has no choice but to swallow his pride and say he got it wrong and abandon this foolish, ill-conceived and dangerous policy.”

Mr Jennings said the Baillieu Government was forced to refer the policy to the Committee to investigate after the proposal came under heavy attack earlier this year.

The Committee responded today with a series of damning recommendations.

The Committee recommends that Protective Service Officers (PSOs) not be employed in Victorian hospitals and health services. Such a measure is inappropriate and contrary to the good management of security in hospitals and poses a greater safety risk. (Recommendation 11, Page xi of the report)

“Violence against hospital staff is unacceptable and staff should be able to do their job without interference. But there are better ways of keeping emergency departments safe than bringing armed personnel into them,” Mr Jennings said.

“Before the election, Mr Baillieu allocated $21 million to fund this policy.

“He must now use this money sensibly to fund other measures to improve the safety and security of hospital staff, patients and visitors.”


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