03/03/2015 08:22 EST | Updated 05/03/2015 05:59 EDT

Hospital security guards not the answer to violence, says B.C. health minister

B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake said he is concerned about the recent violent patient attacks on nurses, but he is not in favour of more security guards in hospitals.

"When I talk to psychiatrists they tell me they would rather have a really trained nurse, than a security guard, because well-trained nurses know how to de-escalate situations," Lake said on Tuesday. 

His comments follow the B.C. Nurses' Union call for more security guards at hospitals and other facilities after an Abbotsford nurse was "savagely attacked" by a patient over the weekend.

The 39-year-old nurse suffered serious trauma to her eye and head, and required surgery.

"Nurses cannot always be the people on the frontline dealing with large, very violent individuals who have more power and strength than they do. That is not appropriate," said union vice-president Christine Sorensen. 

The union has also asked for more de-escalation training for nurses, which the government said is in the works. 

Lake said the government has already invested "tens of millions of dollars" in training for nurses.