The Canberra Liberals have called for extra security for staff coming and going from Canberra Hospital at night after a nurse was stabbed in the hospital car park two weeks ago.
On 23 March, a male nurse was reportedly stabbed in the back and the neck in a Canberra Hospital car park.
An ACT Policing spokesperson said the incident occurred in a three-minute window around 9:40 pm and police were at the scene by 9:53 pm.
“A man was already being restrained at the scene before being placed under arrest at 10:18 pm,” the spokesperson said. “He was conveyed to the City Police Station and appeared before court on 25 March, where Section 309 was granted.”
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Section 309 states that if the court has reasonable grounds for believing that an accused needs immediate treatment or care because of mental impairment, the court may order that the accused be taken by a police officer or corrections officer to an approved mental health facility for clinical examination.
A Canberra Health Services spokesperson confirmed the incident took place two weeks ago, stating that the duress alarm was triggered and security and police attended.
“The victim was assisted and provided medical treatment and the alleged perpetrator was apprehended,” the spokesperson said.
“Canberra Health Services takes the safety of its staff very seriously. Security staff are on standby 24 hours a day to respond if duress alarms in and around the campus are activated.”
The spokesperson said staff working late were encouraged to call security staff to request an escort to their car at the end of their shift, stating that the service was always available to staff.
“There are also monitored CCTV systems and contracted security guards who regularly patrol all campus car parks,” the spokesperson said.
“Last month, our courtesy bus operating hours were extended to cover the period from 7 pm to 11 pm, seven days a week to assist staff returning to their vehicles after a shift.”
Opposition health spokeswoman Vicki Dunne said she wrote to Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris asking her to confirm reports that a male nurse was stabbed in the neck and the back as he was leaving his shift at the Canberra Hospital.
Ms Dunne said she had received three separate reports about the attack that allegedly took place in the car park opposite the hospital on Yamba Drive. Speaking at the Legislative Assembly last week, Mrs Dunne said staff had shared their concerns about the safety measures in walking to and from car parks.
“From time to time staff have expressed to me their concern about accessing staff car parks, late at night. Mainly they are women, but in this case, it appears the victim was a man,” she said.
“The Minister needs to immediately inform staff about what extra security measures are in place to ensure that staff are safe especially those that leave work late at night.
“Their workplace is tougher than most and they deserve to feel safe at work. After a long day at work, they shouldn’t have to feel on their guard while walking to a government supplied car park.
“I call on the Minister for Health to take immediate steps to improve the security and safety of staff at Canberra Hospital.”