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‘Special constables’ part of hospital security rethink

The NSW Health Minister is looking to ramp up hospital security following another shooting at Nepean Hospital in Sydney’s west.

A man in his 50s was shot by police officers after he was allegedly wielding two knives outside the hospital’s emergency department on Thursday afternoon.

It’s understood the man’s car also had a note inside indicating there could be an explosive device within the vehicle.

As a result, parts of the hospital were evacuated and an exclusion zone put in place.

The Health Services Union has already called for more security guards in hospitals.

Minister Brad Hazzard tells Chris Smith he’s already looking into “a range of other measures”.

He’s calling for potential “special constables” to man the hospitals but is wary it “could encourage a more violent response”.

“It’s a matter of trying to know how to calm people down, how to restrain them physically…”

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HSU Secretary Gerard Hayes called in during the interview, telling Chris the security system needs to adapt.

“Hospitals are changing, communities are changing, the sorts of drugs that are occurring now are changing.

“Ultimately, the security function within health, it just can’t be a bouncer one day and working in a mental facility the next day.

“It’s really a health security program.”

On the plan to inject police constables into the system, Mr Hayes says it’s not necessarily about having police presence, but “more the ability to restrain and detain someone” without having to make a citizen’s arrest.