Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller
Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller

Latest job cuts trigger outcry

SECURITY guards at a mental health centre face the axe in the latest wave of health service job cuts - heightening fears for the safety of staff.

The number of security staff at The Park Centre for Mental Health at Wolston Park will be cut from three to two per shift.

Union officials and Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller are concerned that the need to trim the West Moreton Health and Hospital Service's budget is being put ahead of the safety of employees.

Concern has been expressed about the safety of staff at The Park for a number of years.

In 2009 The Queensland Times revealed that one patient had attacked staff 200 times and the LNP's former health spokesman, Mark McArdle, was an outspoken critic of lax security at the unit.

The latest cuts will leave one security officer for 81 patients at the psychiatric facility.

The cuts follow the shedding of 10 staff at the Ipswich Health Plaza last week as the region's health service continues to find savings to prevent a repeat of last year's $17 million overspend.

Shadow Health Minister Mrs Miller said having fewer security officers would put medical staff in physical danger.

"Any reduction in security staffing means higher risks to patients, health professionals, visitors and residents," she said.

Questions put to a spokesman for Health Minister Lawrence Springborg were referred to the West Moreton Health and Hospital Service (WMHHS).

The Park is a 162-bed psychiatric hospital, with patients admitted for a range of problems.

WMHHS chief executive Lesley Dwyer said security was under review.

"We would not be recommending or making changes to service models if we did not believe it was in the best interest of our clients and staff," she said.

"All identified changes will undergo a full risk assessment."

Together Union lead organisor Dennis Mullins is worried the cuts increase the potential for harm.

"Clearly the level of service provided in the past was provided on need and now it's on budget," he said.