Security guards at Royal Prince Alfred hospital protest new uniform

Security guards at Royal Prince Alfred hospital protest new uniform

Offshore Technology International -
Security officers at the Royal Prince Alfred hospital are fighting against new uniform requirements, which involve wearing a $700 suit on the job.

The Health Services Union have argued the 'expensive and unnecessary' uniform code — which is expected to come into effect today — is 'restrictive, uncomfortable and unsuited to the Australian climate'.

The workers, who have refused to suit up, are demonstrating outside the RPA hospital in Sydney this morning against the Sydney Local Health District's proposition.

Gerard Hayes, the union's NSW Secretary, said 'security officers at RPA are simply standing up for common sense'.

'RPA management seems more interested in dressing security officers up like school prefects than resourcing them to properly do their jobs,' Mr Hayes said.

Plans to make guards suit up were struck down in June last year, when 17 guards at RPA voted unanimously against the proposed rule.

'Our members deal with violent patients and visitors often under the effect of ice or alcohol. Forcing them to wear an ill-fitting suit while doing this is simply ridiculous,' Mr Hayes said.

'We are still waiting for the NSW Government to properly resource security in our hospitals after one of our members was shot at Nepean Hospital in early 2016.

'This ridiculous move by RPA shows hospital managers are more interested in cosmetic appearances than they are in creating safe hospitals.'

Suits 'better' for de-escalating aggression
A spokesperson from Sydney Local Health District rejected the union's claims of the suits being unsafe.

They said the previous uniform was received by vulnerable patients as 'intimidating'.

'For some of our patients, [this] tends to escalate situations rather than de-escalating them.

'The new uniform gives our security staff a professional style and quiet authority and has been received well by patients and visitors.'

The spokesperson claimed 90 per cent of security staff across the district were supportive, and the decision to roll out the suits was a result of consultations with staff and patients since August 2016.

'Staff who have been wearing the new uniform have also reported they are better able to de-escalate situations of aggression.

'Only a small group are declining to wear it.'

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