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Ongoing Security Plan Will Help Keep Hospital EDs Safe

Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says a continuation of increased security measures at eight key hospitals around New Zealand reflects the Government’s ongoing commitment to the safety of healthcare staff, and patients.

“I’m very pleased Health NZ – Te Whatu Ora have been able to confirm that additional security support will remain in place at eight of our highest risk EDs: Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Waikato, Middlemore, Auckland, Waitakere and North Shore,” Dr Reti says.

“When requested, support will also be available to other EDs needing surge capacity over the next few months, for example during certain events.

“This will remain in place while the agency formally reviews the initial summer initiative which ran up until February 29, and which provided 200 additional security staff to 32 emergency departments.

“The ongoing measures will ensure frontline ED staff at key hospitals can remain supported while Health NZ looks at how things worked over the summer and ahead of any long-term decisions.

“It’s been good to hear from HNZ that feedback from frontline ED staff to the summer initiative was positive. They say the presence of additional security has made a real difference to staff in their everyday work, contributing to calmer and safer EDs which in turn, allowed nurses and doctors to focus on providing quality clinical care.

“I understand Health NZ has also had some feedback from its frontline people about improvements which it will continue to explore.

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“The Government and I take the security of health staff, patients, and visitors to our hospitals incredibly seriously. As I’ve said previously, there’s no excuse for any violent behaviour that puts staff or other patients at risk, and that’s why we put the summer scheme in place in the first place. We always knew we would review and assess it.

“The safety of patients and staff is incredibly important -- and so is the placement and training of security staff who support them,” Dr Reti says.

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