Saturday, November 19, 2005

Public hospital gets police instead of medical staff

Only an oblique mention ("particularly in emergency wards") of WHY people get aggressive towards hospital staff. It's mainly because the relatives of very sick people who are left unseen-to for many hours get angry and afraid about their relatives being ignored

The first police facility at a hospital in the southern hemisphere would help curb violence against medical staff, the Queensland Government said today. Brisbane's Princess Alexandra (PA) Hospital today showed off its new Police Beat which will be staffed by five officers, on duty between 8am and 10pm. They would be on hand to investigate the all too frequent assaults on medical staff, particularly in emergency wards, Health Minister Stephen Robertson said. "It is just disgusting to think that our doctors, our nurses and our allied health workers, in going about their business - saving lives - might be subject to assaults or violent acts by either the patients or acquaintances or friends of those patients," Mr Robertson said.

The Princess Alexandra also will deal with coronial matters, inquiries about patients with a mental illness and incidents involving people admitted to the hospital, Mr Robertson said. The police beat is like a small police station complete with interview rooms and if it proves successful in trials, it may be expanded to other main hospitals throughout Queensland.

Other similar police facilities had been put into hospitals in the United States, Britain and Ireland but the PA was believed to be the first of its kind in the southern hemisphere, Mr Robertson said.

Police Minister Judy Spence said PA had a population the size of a small country town and it made sense to have police on hand. "We've been locating police in shopping centres, schools and neighbourhoods around the state, so it makes sense to locate them in a very large facility such as this where they have a lot of work," she said. They will also service the hospital's surrounding area in the inner southside suburb of Woolloongabba



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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