BASHED AND PELTED
Fears for safety at health facility after guard’s jaw broken
SECURITY at a Far Northern health facility has been beefed up with staff fearing for their safety after a guard was severely bashed and the building pelted with rocks twice.
Yarrabah’s emergency department was shut down overnight following crisis talks between health authorities, police, community elders and union officials to review security at the Bukki Rd facility.
A police spokesman confirmed a 50year-old security guard had to undergo emergency facial surgery on a broken jaw and had several teeth knocked out after he was hit by either a wooden paling or a baseball bat in the centre’s carpark.
He said the guard had gone outside to investigate after rocks were thrown at the emergency department and was attacked early last Friday morning.
The building was targeted with rocks for a second time on Monday night. Investigations into both incidents are continuing.
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service rural and remote services executive director Gabrielle Honeywood said security at the facility would now be tripled to three guards at night.
She said nursing staff had been switched from on-call to overnight shift work so they did not have to travel between living quarters and the facility during the night.
Upgrades to security hardware, including extra lighting, extra duress alarms and upgrades to security cameras will begin this week.
The health service is jointly run by the Gurriny Yealamucka Primary Health Care Centre, which operates a primary care facility during the day, and CHHHS, which operates the emergency department throughout the day and on an on-call basis at night.
During the night there is a doctor and two nurses available who will now work on rostered shifts. There has been no impact on the daily Gurriny Yealamucka operations.
Far North police Supt Geoff Sheldon said police would begin conducting extra patrols at night.
Together Union’s Cairns health representative Dr Sandy Donald said the union shared the CHHHS’s concerns over safety.