Call To Reinstate Local Murray Bridge Hospital Guards

March 22, 2024 11:07 am in by
George Cooper. Photo:

An ex-employee at the Murray Bridge Hospital says he and his crew of security guards were laid off before Christmas with just two days’ notice and not much explanation.

Peritas Security was replaced with another overseas company at the time, following a call from the Australian Midwifery and Nursing Union for 24/7 security at the hospital.

George Cooper is calling for answers and a reinstatement of his colleagues’ jobs after they were dismissed via email after 15 years in the job.

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“[We were] told services were no longer required… There was no reason given, there was no tender process for this new company to come in, they just walked us out,” George Cooper said in an ARN radio interview.

“My guys did not deserve for this to happen… these are local guards, local jobs. Why would you take the money and give it elsewhere?”

Wayne Champion, CEO of the Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network, has declined an interview but has provided a statement:

“We have been clear that we are establishing a 24/7security service at Murray Bridge Soldier’s Memorial Hospital to manage appropriate safety concerns internally. 
We are planning to directly employ these security guards rather than relying on long-term external suppliers. 
While we are putting this in place, we selected an Adelaide-based company who already have a contractual arrangement with SA Health to staff this as a short-term arrangement. 
The Adelaide-based contractor was chosen because they demonstrated an ability to better meet our needs than other approved suppliers. 
A tender process is not required for short-term arrangements when agreed suppliers are used. All parties were notified of changes in line with contractual obligations.”

George Cooper said he and his team also went above and beyond in their roles, also supporting nurses with cleaning and patient care and had the support from the families of dementia patients.

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“The CEO has denied exactly what they were doing and what he asked us to do on the jobsheet… make the beds, wipe the counters, cups of tea, coffee, tend to any patients for any of their needs, filling up their stocks, blankets, just a ‘jack of all trades’….and on the wards we looked after the dementia patients, the old age ones with COVID also, and they get very violent. It’s not their fault, they’re sick. We understand that and we got many thank you cards from families,” he said.

“My guards have done an excellent job over this time, so I cannot work out why SA Health have broken the only thing that’s probably working.”

Wayne Champion said in a statement in response that it is “common practice for security personnel to perform concierge and orderly services in regional health services when their availability and workload allows”, adding:

“These services do not include nursing services. It also does not include emptying bedpans, making beds and assisting with patient care.
Security personnel were consulted and agreed to perform these duties and have received appropriate training.”

There are a number of paper petitions to sign around Murray Bridge, as well as an online version via

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Hear more from George Cooper, speaking with Jennie Lenman via the audio play window below: