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District shows its appreciation for security staff

District marks International Security Officers’ Day, acknowledging the integral role of security staff.

Security staff pose for a photo outside with a box of celebratory cupcakes
SydneyConnect Image: District marks International Security Officers’ Day, acknowledging the integral role of security staff

Every day is different for Sydney Local Health District’s security staff – but one goal is always in focus, providing the best customer service for patients, visitors, staff and the community.

The District’s Acting Security Manager Michael Evans works alongside Gaetano Abbate, Paul Haggerty, Eddie Osman, Joseph Matta, Jason Mickovski, Mehedi Hasan and Carlos Quinteros who lead the delivery of security services.

There are more than 80 security staff employed by the District, plus a number of contractors, based at hospitals, services, Special Health Accommodation (SHA) and within COVID-19 operations.

“Our security staff play an integral role in ensuring people’s safety and wellbeing and support the delivery of world-class patient and family centred care,” Michael said.

The District is marking International Security Officers’ Day which falls on 24 July each year; a date chosen in recognition of the 24/7 nature of security work.

“I like to think that we’ve set the benchmark for security in healthcare settings. We’re providing a service that’s responsive and has a customer service focus,” Gaetano Abbate, who leads RPA’s security team, said.

Security staff perform routine duties, like patrols and traffic control, work together to provide assistance in challenging situations and promptly respond to emergencies.

At the forefront is a genuine desire to help others, with security staff often the first people who members of the community meet at the District’s hospitals, services and facilities.

They greet patients, visitors and staff; offer directions and guide patients to their appointments; and seek to answer any questions they may have.

“We are here to help in any way possible. It’s often a distressing time for patients and their families who are visiting our hospitals and we will do everything we can to assist them,” Paul Haggerty, who heads Canterbury Hospital’s security team, said.

It’s a sentiment echoed by Joseph Matta who heads the security team at Concord.

“I care about others and take a compassionate approach to my work. In a health care environment we aim to make patients and their relatives as comfortable as we can,” he said.

During COVID-19, the District’s security workforce grew, with staff contributing to the response to the pandemic – including at SHA.

At the height of the pandemic, SHA provided 24/7 comprehensive care for returning overseas travellers and members of the community required to undertake mandatory supervised quarantine.

“I like to help people however I can. Listening is important. I listen to the questions people ask and the concerns that they may raise. Our team works together to find solutions,” Mehedi Hasan, the Acting Security Manager at SHA, said.

The pandemic led to a career switch for Jason Gould (pictured), who worked as a baker for 18 years, but is now a senior security staffer at Sydney Dental Hospital.

“I love my job. Every day is different – the people who you meet and the scenarios that unfold. I put myself in the patients’ shoes, respond to them with empathy and provide assistance to make their experience a positive one,” he said.

To show the District’s heartfelt appreciation, security staff received cupcakes in recognition of the job that they do.

“I’d like to acknowledge the professionalism, hard work and dedication of the security staff across the District. Thank you for the significant contribution you make to our District every day,” Dr Teresa Anderson, the District’s Chief Executive, said.