Security returns to Dalby Hospital
TEN weeks after nurse Steven Conn exposed the severe lack of safety measures at Dalby Hospital, the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has reinstated security at the facility.
Mr Conn, along with two other nurses, claimed staff "lived in very reasonable fear of personal harm on a shift-to-shift basis" at Dalby Hospital.
DDHHS chief executive Dr Peter Gillies said the governing body had taken notice of the unfolding situation and decided they needed to step in.
"There's been some concerns raised by staff around safety at Dalby Hospital, particularly after hours," Dr Gillies said.
"We've met with the staff on a number of occasions to talk through that.
"Through all of that it became clear that there is certainly some concern around safety."
Security will be on-site at the hospital from 8pm-5am Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and commences tomorrow.
At this stage the security will only be there for a three-month trial to allow for staff feedback.
When asked why DDHHS only elected to have security available three nights a week, Dr Gillies said the nights chosen reflected the nights when incidents were most likely to occur.
"It factors in how busy the hospital is and when many of the issues are," he said.
"My understanding is it's much more common on the weekends to have issues with difficult patients or aggressive community members.
"So that's where the greatest need is and that's where we'll start."
The DDHHS decision to reinstate security comes only two weeks after the Dalby Herald exclusively revealed Warrego MP Ann Leahy and shadow minister for health Ros Bates had involved themselves in the situation.
Dr Gillies firmly denied the decision to approve security had anything to do with political pressure.
"No I don't believe so, we've been looking at this for a while now ... and reviewing solutions," he said.
"With all of our rural hospitals we are always doing audits of the facilities and looking at where we can improve security and lighting ... if we find deficits we do our best to rectify those.
"The welfare of our staff and patients is very important to the health service."
Dr Gillies said the organisation was also assessing other avenues to improve hospital safety.
"We've looked at an option to try to up-skill operational services staff to try and perform more security duties than what they're currently doing and we're still working though that," he said.
"The lighting outside is also being looked at."