Security Shake-Up Urged at Hospitals

Article excerpt

INADEQUATE security measures in A&E departments at Ulster hospitals will be top of the Assembly health committee's agenda, DUP MLA Paul Berry has revealed.

Last night the Newry and Mourne health committee member said he had ``great concerns'' about security in Ulster hospitals, and vowed to make it a priority issue at next Wednesday's meeting.

His decision comes after a man ran amok, causing up to pounds 5,000 damage and endangering lives in Newry's Daisy Hill hospital last weekend.

Windows and doors were smashed, fire extinguishers ripped from walls and doors broken in the 3am rampage of the hospital's casualty department.

A closed-circuit television was also ripped from the wall as outpatients dived for cover - some even into a child's Wendy House - and staff locked themselves into an office to escape injury.

Only one security man was policing the casualty department when the incident happened.

The perpetrator is believed to have been a traveller who was accompanying his brother, who had been admitted with stab wounds, following a feud with fellow travellers.

A hospital source said: ``His injured brother was sitting in a wheelchair and the man starting wrecking around him. He just lost the head.''

An RUC spokesman said no arrest has been made and investigations are continuing. Anyone with information is asked to get in touch with police at Newry.

Martin Toal, branch secretary of Unison, said security at Daisy Hill is currently being reviewed and added that Group Force security officers have been drafted in. …