The Weatherill Labor Government’s child protection scandal has now spread to another department – SA Health.
Nurses at Modbury Hospital have informed the State Liberals that security guards employed at the hospital do not have a ‘working with children’ police clearance even though they have access to parts of the hospital where children are treated.
“Given the child protection problems experienced in the Education Department it seems unbelievable the Weatherill Labor Government could have allowed this scandal to spread into hospitals and SA Health,” said Shadow Health Minister Rob Lucas.
Concern amongst staff at Modbury Hospital about child protection was so significant that the following notice was sent to all nurses and emergency department consultants on 21 January 2014:
In November we made inquiries regarding the level of Police Clearance held by our security guards. We were informed that they do not hold “Working with Children” clearance.
The NALHN restructure has led to an increased focus on children within the ED and with increased lengths of stay.
It is imperative that we can maintain a safe environment for these children and an obligation under the Children’s Protection Act.
With this in mind the following directive was given to MSS, our security provider.
No security guard is to physically restrain any pt under 18 years old.
No security guard is to be left alone with a pt under the age of 18 years without a nurse or doctor present.
No security guard is to be present when an examination of a pt under the age of 18 years occurs.
I have personally discussed this issue with many of you and look forward to a resolution. Until one is reached the above directive stands.
“Sadly this notice makes it clear these child protection issues were being raised as long ago as November last year, yet more than three months later there still has been no resolution,” said Mr Lucas.
“Premier Weatherill and Minister Snelling stand condemned for their inaction on this critical issue. Again we have seen secrecy and a lack of transparency from the Weatherill Labor Government as they have ignored the issue and failed to take action to resolve it.
“Whilst this notice relates to security staff at Modbury Hospital the State Liberals have been advised that the same problem also exists with security staff employed at other hospitals such as the Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
“For some bizarre reason the Weatherill Government’s contract with the security firm only required a general police clearance and not the specific clearance which relates to working with children and other vulnerable groups such as the elderly/infirm and patients with disabilities.
“Mr Weatherill and Mr Snelling must now come clean and indicate when they first became aware of this problem and why they haven’t resolved it.
“They must also indicate whether similar warning notices have been circulated in other hospitals such as the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and if not, why not?”