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Violent offenders in hospitals deserve tougher penalties, Health Minister says

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard admits penalties need to be tougher on violent offenders in hospitals following a horrific incident earlier this week at Westmead Hospital.

Ray Hadley revealed on Monday, a man visiting a sick relative started to abuse staff in the hospital’s waiting room.

His behaviour turned violent, with up to seven people, including two police officers, needed to subdue him.

Nurses and doctors at hospitals across the state have since inundated Ray with complaints, telling him they’re faced with these kinds of incidents daily.

Minister Hazzard was surprised the man wasn’t initially charged, telling Ray it’s time to get tougher on violent offenders who put staff at risk.

“I don’t think the penalties are anywhere near enough.”

Minister Hazzard has defended the security staff employed to protect hospitals, despite Ray questioning why reputable security companies who apply for government contracts are knocked back.

“There was no question the security staff responded well,” Mr Hazzard says.

“The message should be to these characters to stay right out of the hospital.”

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