NSW hospital workers strike over security

Health workers rallied outside Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital over workplace safety.
Health workers rallied outside Sydney's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital over workplace safety.

The union for public hospital workers says thousands of workers walked off the job as they fought for increased security in their workplaces, but the NSW government insists the numbers were only in the hundreds.

Health Services Union NSW secretary Gerard Hayes claims some 40 hospital workers are assaulted every month and the strike action is just the "starting point".

"There is no way that can be condoned as reasonable or allowed to happen," Mr Hayes told AAP.

He called on the NSW government to commit $50 million for a proactive security team at hospitals including staff trained in mental health, drug and alcohol abuse.

As the strikes wrapped up, the NSW Health Department released a statement saying it was committed to a trial of additional security measures at Gosford and Wyong hospitals that was previously negotiated with the union.

However, the department said it expected its gesture of "good faith" would be returned by the union and disputed the total numbers of workers who walked off the job.

"Advice from the 400 health facilities across the regions indicates that a maximum of a few hundred HSU members (some on work time and some on their own time) participated in industrial action today," it said in a statement.

Thursday's action involved paramedics - who didn't charge patients for treatment or transport - security staff, allied health professionals as well as administration and catering workers.

Doctors and nurses did not strike but were in support of the action.

Australian Associated Press