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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Townsville Hospital to roll out body-worn cameras

    Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
    The Honourable Cameron Dick

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

    Townsville Hospital to roll out body-worn cameras

    Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick was at The Townsville Hospital to announce the successful trial of body worn cameras in the hospital’s Emergency Department and public areas.

    Mr Dick said The Townsville Hospital would be a much safer place for patients, staff and visitors with the introduction of body-worn cameras on security staff at North Queensland’s largest tertiary hospital.

    It comes after the Hospital trialled two models of body-worn cameras in the Emergency Department and in public thoroughfares of the hospital over the past month.

    “There has never been more support for staff and patients on the ground to combat the issue of violence in our hospitals which is a scourge on both our health system and our wider community,” Mr Dick said.

    “These cameras are similar to what the Queensland Police Service (QPS) use and they are making a big difference in acting as a deterrent for potential violence and assisting the QPS when it comes to prosecuting offenders following violent incidents.

    Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said local health workers did an amazing job and they deserved to come home to their families safely.

    “The dedicated doctors and nurses at The Townsville Hospital come to work to look after patients – not to become patients themselves,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

    “No matter what the case or the cause, there is no excuse for abuse.”

    Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said he knew from his own experience working as a former paramedic and former medical orderly at Townsville Hospital that healthcare workers could be easy targets.

    “We need to educate and remind people that violence against anyone – whether they are a frontline officer or a member of the public – is simply unacceptable,” Mr Harper said.

    “It should never be tolerated, wherever Queenslanders might live.”

    Townsville Hospital and Health Board Chair Tony Mooney said the health service would not tolerate violence against staff.

    Mr Mooney said recent examples of violence included an altercation in the Emergency Department waiting room and a patient using a flag as a weapon.

    “This sort of behaviour is clearly not acceptable and the Townsville Hospital and Health Board will do everything within its power to protect our staff and patients from these sorts of appalling incidents,” Mr Mooney said.

    “Although the overwhelming majority of our patients are pleasant and grateful for the care we provide, when people become aggressive it interferes with our ability to provide medical or nursing care and can be quite stressful for our staff.

    “The message for our community today is very clear, if you abuse or assault our staff you will be filmed and that footage will be given to the police.”

    Emergency department nurse unit manager Debbie McCarthy represents the Townsville Hospital and Health Service on the state-wide Occupational Violence Implementation Oversight Committee.

    Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said after three years of inaction under the Newman LNP Government, the Palaszczuk Government formed two important groups – the Paramedic Safety and Health Occupational Violence taskforces – to identify measures to stop violence against health workers. 

    The Palaszczuk Government accepted all of the recommendations made and one of several responses to the report includes establishing a trial of voice-activated duress alarms and body cameras.

    Ms McCarthy said a deterioration of community standards, particularly at the front door, had sadly made the implementation of body-worn cameras a necessity.

    “Over the years we’ve seen a sharp decline in the standards of behaviour that we see from some patients who come through the emergency department,” she said.

    “I welcome any available opportunity to trial technology that makes the emergency department a safer place to work.”

    Mr Mooney said the body-worn cameras would not be filming 24/7 and would only be activated during an aggressive or violent incident with the permission of a clinician and once warning had been given to the person who was being aggressive or violent.

    Mr Stewart said everyday Queenslanders could play a very real role when it came to protecting our protectors – healthcare workers.

    “We all need to band together and say “enough is enough” when it comes to violence in our community,” he said.



    Media contact: Emma McBryde        0447 155 332