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Over 20,000 Australian hospital workers go on strike after violent assaults on staff

(Xinhua)    15:44, August 01, 2019

SYDNEY, Aug. 1 -- More than 20,000 hospital workers in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have walked off the job on Thursday, calling for better security measures following a series of violent assaults on staff.

Health Services Union (HSU) NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes claimed that around 40 hospital workers are assaulted every month, some severely.

Hayes called on the government to commit 34.2 million U.S. dollars to fund more security personnel at hospitals, including those trained in mental health, drug and alcohol abuse.

In 2014, spinal surgeon Michael Wong was stabbed 14 times by a mentally ill patient at Western Hospital in the bordering State of Victoria.

"I see the significance of more and improved hospital security to protect staff who are experiencing more violence related to drugs, the opioid epidemic and mental health crisis," Wong said in a statement.

Earlier this year three nurses were wounded and an elderly patient was stabbed in the face after a woman grabbed a pair of scissors.

Shortly after the shocking incident, General Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Brett Holmes said that hospital workers should not have to go to work fearing for their safety.

"This is a terrible situation... no nurse begins their shift anticipating to suffer injuries on the job," he said.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that she takes the issue very seriously and that the government will "take all necessary steps... to make the system safer."

HSU representatives said that the rolling four-hour strike would cause minimal disruption to services at public hospitals.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Shi Xi, Bianji)

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