Public access to Morisset Hospital grounds to be restricted due to health and safety concerns

THE signage hasn’t worked. Maybe locked gates and a suite of security measures will.

Public access to Morisset Hospital will soon be restricted due to health and safety concerns.

Hunter New England Health said in the coming weeks the general public and tourists would no longer be permitted to enter the Morisset Hospital grounds.

“Ensuring the health and welfare of the public, our patients, and staff at Morisset Hospital is our priority,” Hunter New England Health’s chief executive Michael DiRienzo said. 

“Unfortunately, tourists have continued to visit the site to feed and interact with the animals, despite clear signage instructing them not to do so.”

In the short term, the gates on the main road into the hospital will be permanently locked, with access restricted to emergency services, authorised visitors, and staff.

Custom-built gates are being constructed, and these are expected to be installed in March 2019. 

These gates will have swipe card access, intercom and video cameras for staff.

Bollards will also be installed at entry points, and additional fencing erected.

MP Greg Piper on the Morisset Hospital kangaroos

The measures were agreed to by a working group committee comprising Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, Hunter New England Health, and representatives from the RSPCA, NSW Wildlife Council, and NSW Parks and Wildlife.

Recent incidents in the hospital grounds had highlighted the need for action, Mr DiRienzo said.

“A number of incidents have occurred where members of the public have been seriously injured by kangaroos, health services have been disrupted by the influx of cars and buses on-site, and many kangaroos have been injured or killed,” he said.

Tour operators and other visitor information websites will be asked to remove any reference to the facility as a tourist attraction.

Mr Piper said it was important to protect the safety of everyone on the site which was an operational mental health facility.

“For many patients, the campus is their home and accessing areas of the site is part of their rehabilitation,” he said. “Unfortunately tourists have also approached mental health patients which can impact their care and wellbeing.”

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