Man charged after hospital staff assaulted, slashed

The attack at Sydney's Westmead Hospital occurred on Friday night.

The attack at Sydney's Westmead Hospital occurred on Friday night. Photo: Westmead Hospital website

A man has been charged after allegedly slashing two security guards and injuring a nurse as police investigate possible mental health and drug issues.

Police were called to Westmead Hospital in western Sydney about 11.30pm on Friday following reports a man had assaulted staff.

The 39-year-old allegedly slashed two male security guards aged 24 and 25 causing laceration injuries, a police spokesman said.

Earlier, police had reported that two security guards had been “stabbed”.

“They were cut rather than stabbed and there wasn’t any penetration,” he clarified.

A 29-year-old male nurse was injured in the attack, while a third security guard’s shoulder was dislocated.

The four were “all fine” with minor injuries that were treated on-site and did not require admission to hospital, the spokesman said.

The man was placed under guard at the hospital before he was arrested and taken to Parramatta Police Station.

He was charged with five offences including two counts of assaulting a frontline health worker actual bodily harm, one count of assault frontline health worker no actual bodily harm, common assault and using an offensive weapon to prevent lawful detention.

He was refused bail to appear before Parramatta Local Court on Sunday.

Police will look at the man’s mental health and drug use history to see whether they contributed to the alleged attack as investigations continue.

Western Sydney Local Health District, which operates Westmead Hospital, said the affected workers were receiving ongoing support.

“There was no impact to other patients or patient care services,” a spokeswoman said.

“The safety of our staff, patients and visitors is the highest priority.”

The “senseless violence” on hospital staff is horrifying, Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes said.

“For the workers on the receiving end, the trauma will continue long after the physical scars have healed,” he said.

“For the last decade, we have had shootings, stabbings and flesh torn from the bodies of our members.”

The union said it would continue advocating for greater security numbers and powers at hospitals, and better personal protective equipment.

NSW minister Jo Haylen said the incident was a serious concern, and the government would continue working to protect those doing critical work at hospitals across the state.

“The safety of our health workforce including security guards at our hospitals is obviously front of mind for government and we are concerned for their welfare,” she told reporters on Saturday.

“It is absolutely important that people are safe at work.”

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