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Shane Reti defends lack of security at Wairarapa Hospital, scene of machete attack

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By RNZ

Wairarapa Hospital did not have a track record of violent incidents before a machete attack on Saturday night, Health Minister Shane Reti says.

He was responding to calls for more security measures at some of the country’s smaller emergency departments at hospitals around the country.

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists has claimed no security guards were on hand when the attack took place just before midnight which Te Whatu Ora has denied. It said security staff were on duty in the ED and were able to attend “within seconds”.

A 62-year-old man was taken into custody at the scene and is now facing a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Police said in a statement the victim and the offender were known to each other, and the victim received moderate injuries.

Dr Reti told RNZ’s Checkpoint the alleged behaviour was “completely unacceptable anywhere in New Zealand let alone in a hospital”.

He has asked for an incident report which will be added to another report being compiled on security at all hospitals including EDs.

The government temporarily boosted the number of security officers at emergency departments over the summer.

Since then, eight ‘hot-spot’ EDs have kept the extra guards, with others receiving funding when they need it. That money is due to expire on July 1, and Reti refused to give an assurance of it being extended further because the information was “Budget sensitive”.

Health Minister Dr Shane Reti. Photo / Michael Cunningham



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