The State Government has agreed to launch an investigation into the safety of staff and patients at hospitals across New South Wales.

The security audit will include looking at duress alarms, CCTV monitoring and the design of emergency departments.

It comes after the near fatal shooting of a police officer and security guard at Nepean Hospital, in Sydney.

The increase in security is also linked to the rapid rise in ice and alcohol related violence, including a patient who attempted to grab a police officers gun at Manly Hospital, as reported by Fairfax Media.

Health Services Union Secretary, Gerard Hayes says ice and alcohol are becoming increasingly dangerous.

“Emergency departments in hospitals are becoming a dangerous place and we need to be able to engage and resolve those issues proactively as opposed to reactively.”

“In John Hunter Hospital it’s regular [that] there’s violence through drugs like ice.”

He says security guards with guns will not help the issue.

The issue also appears to be a bipartisan one, with Shadow Minister for Health, Walt Secord agreeing to help in any way.

“I want to work together with the [State] Government to find a solution.  The best thing we can do is put patients first.”

“I’m willing to put aside any political differences and work with the [State] Government to improve safety in the emergency department.”

Image courtesy of The Daily Telegraph (