Always on callWritten by Jennifer Brown Tuesday, 03 February 2009 04:45
Martin Green has found creative ways to keep the hospitals he works at secure. When it comes to upgrading technology, progress has been slow but that’s what happens when you’re competing for dollars that could also be spent on life-saving hospital equipment.
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IP system in place
Despite the budget limitations facing Green, a new 60-camera IP system is planned for the Ajax site running on its own separate network — not connected to the hospital systems. The decision to put IP into Ajax is largely because it is a smaller hospital. “We have 18 cameras there now and will be taking it to three times that. When I started, there were none.”
Having a separate network for the security cameras is something Green feels strongly about.
“I’m just so paranoid that something is going to go wrong — if the hospital servers go down, I’m blind. If their network is independent of ours, there are no worries about bandwidth issues creating problems with anything else in the hospital.
Green worked with security systems integrator Nutech (now KM Enterprise Solutions owned by Chubb) in specifying the security systems for the new buildings including a new card reader system.
At the moment, there is no plan to upgrade security technology and facilities at the Centenary site, he says, because it’s cost-prohibitive. “The security office would have to be relocated and if I had IP cameras and analogue systems I’d have independent systems. Our guys would have to be looking at two different banks of monitors. I have 112 digital analogue cameras at Centenary and converting to the IP systems is going to be very, very expensive. Before I could do I’d have to relocate my security office at the cost of $40,000 and then look at the cost of upgrading to IP. I’d love to do it ”“ the ease of putting in IP cameras is amazing.”
Perhaps more important than new technology though is an emphasis on well-trained staff. Green has in-house security professionals at the Centenary site and contract guards at the Ajax-Pickering facility. The hospital pays $23 per hour at the Centenary site and $16.50 at Ajax-Pickering. The Centenary site employees are unionized under the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
“You’re better served having your own people. I really support the in-house model. If you look at all the other hospitals with in-house security (which includes most of the downtown core hospitals) the pay scales are all close to the same. That’s what it costs to have in-house security people and they’re worth it.
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