Security officers in Akubra hats, suits and RM Williams boots sounds like it could be the backdrop of a western movie but it will soon be the norm across some Sydney hospitals.
The outfit is the new uniform that security guards at Royal Prince Alfred hospital and several other Sydney hospitals are expected to wear from Wednesday.
But RPA security guards will instead dress in union T-shirts as they protest against the "inappropriate" uniforms imposed by management, Health Services Union NSW branch secretary Gerard Hayes said.
Mr Hayes told Yahoo7 the suit and tie uniform was something more suited to a 'school prefect', and argued that they would hamper security officers dealing with mental health and ice-affected patients.
The uniforms, which Mr Hayes estimates will cost the government about $1000 each, will replace their current police-style attire.
Mr Hayes says it "beggars belief" the security officers are expected to wear an Akubra hat, suit and boots while interacting and caring for patients.
"It's not like you're a concierge at the Hilton," Mr Hayes said.
"People will vomit on you, officers will be dealing with patients who may be distressed and violent, and ice addicts in the emergency department."
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Mr Hayes told the ABC "security officers at RPA are simply standing up for common sense".
"RPA management seems more interested in dressing security officers up like school prefects than resourcing them to properly do their jobs," he said.
Members have taken a firm stance refusing to wear the new uniform despite possible disciplinary action by management, Mr Hayes said.
"It's not a fashion statement, it needs to be a uniform," he said.
The new uniform also applies to security guards at Balmain, Canterbury, Concord Repatriation and Sydney Dental hospitals.
A spokesperson from Sydney Local Health District rejected the union's claims of the suits being unsafe, the ABC reports.
"For some of our patients, [this] tends to escalate situations rather than de-escalating them," the spokesperson said.
"The new uniform gives our security staff a professional style and quiet authority and has been received well by patients and visitors."