The College thanks the Victorian Liberals for acknowledging the need for an increased security presence in hospitals, due to rising levels of aggression and violence in emergency departments. 

However, instead of PSOs, the College advises the employment of security guards, embedded in ED. These security guards would receive specialised training and would provide compassionate, patient-centred, trauma-informed care. 

ACEM Victorian Faculty Chair Dr Belinda Hibble said, “Victorian emergency doctors have concerns about the proposal by the Victorian Liberals to have PSOs in five of Victoria’s major hospitals. Instead of making emergency departments safer, the presence of PSOs could potentially decrease safety in Victoria’s EDs for patients, staff, and carers.” 

The College recently called for a 24/7 security guard in every Victorian emergency department, appropriately trained to support patients and staff in common ED occurrences. 

Dr Hibble said, “These security guards should be a trusted and trained part of the ED team, employed by the hospital and working closely with nurses and doctors. They should practice in a trauma-informed manner and be experts in calm and empathic de-escalation." 

“When you see these security guards in action, as I have, it is inspiring: they know when to step in, and when to step back. They know their communities intimately, and their communities trust them. They can read each situation and are adept at compassionately managing patients under the influence of alcohol and other drugs, or who are experiencing mental health issues.” 


ACEM is the peak body for emergency medicine in Australia and New Zealand, responsible for training emergency physicians and advancement of professional standards.

Media Contact:

ACEM Media Relations Manager Melissa Howard [email protected] + 61 427 621 857