Keeping Our Health Workers Safe On Australia Day

25 January 2018

Australia Day revellers are being urged to respect all healthcare workers with the national public holiday being one of the busiest days for alcohol-related hospital emergency visits.

Acting Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today said alcohol-fuelled violence against Victoria’s dedicated doctors, nurses and paramedics would not be tolerated.

In January 2017, there was an average of 47 alcohol-related presentations a day to Victorian emergency departments – including 91 on Australia Day, almost a doubling of the month’s average.

Since 2013, there have been 16 reports of paramedics experiencing occupational violence on Australia Day. Reports of aggressive behaviour doubles or triples on the day when compared to the monthly average.

The Andrews Labor Government’s “It’s never OK” campaign is designed to reduce occupational violence and aggression against healthcare workers and paramedics.

It is estimated up to 95 per cent of healthcare workers have experienced physical or verbal attacks while simply doing their job caring for others and saving lives.

The Labor Government is rolling out $40 million in the Health Service Violence Prevention Fund, to install alarms, CCTV and security systems, and additional lighting in waiting areas. We’re also building new behavioural assessment rooms at 16 Victorian hospitals.

We are deploying more security guards to hospitals across Victoria to keep health workers, patient and visitors safer all year round, and equipping our paramedics with high tech body cameras to keep them safe on the streets.

And while many medical clinics are closed for the long weekend, Victorians are also reminded to seek alternative methods of care for non-emergencies.

Supercare Pharmacies will be open for business on the public holiday. Across Victoria, 12 Supercare Pharmacies are open 24/7 offering access to a pharmacist for advice, supply of medicines and dispensing of prescriptions.

Between 6pm and 10pm, registered nurses at Supercare Pharmacies offer face-to-face care, advice and treatment for minor injuries and illness, without appointments or a Medicare card and there is no charge for this service.

In addition, anyone seeking health advice during the long weekend can also call Nurse-on-call on 1300 60 60 24. These committed healthcare workers are there to provide care to Victorians when they need.

Quotes attributable to Acting Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“Our hard working doctors, nurses and paramedics are not punching bags – and drinking too much alcohol is no excuse. Abuse is not part of the job and won’t be tolerated.”

“Sadly, excessive alcohol consumption sees too many revellers end up in emergency rooms. And too many of our paramedics and health workers are bearing the brunt of alcohol-fuelled violence.”

“To our dedicated health workers working on Australia Day: speak up – and don’t tolerate any unacceptable behaviour.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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