Health services across Victoria will benefit from additional safety measures to reduce and prevent violence, with the first round of the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund announced today.
Visiting Footscray Hospital today, Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, announced 26 Victorian hospitals – including 18 rural hospitals and eight metropolitan hospitals - will share in the funding, which will help make the hospitals safer for staff, patients and visitors.
The fund delivers on the Labor Government’s election promise to reduce violence at hospitals and mental health services by improving facilities and making them safer.
Footscray Hospital will benefit from funding to buy high performance protective vests to enhance the safety of security officers, increasing their protection from the threat of occupational violence.
The vests provide protection against blunt and sharp force injuries and their high visibility colour will contribute to the visible presence of the Security Team.
Among other projects funded are modifications to improve safety at emergency departments, in waiting rooms for families and children, and multiple points of entry and exit. Safety will also be boosted with new closed circuit television, duress alarms and access control doors.
The Victorian Auditor-General’s Report into Occupational Health Violence Against Healthcare Workers, tabled in Parliament in May, found nurses, doctors, paramedics and other healthcare workers face particular risks because “they are at the frontline when it comes to dealing with people in stressful, unpredictable and potentially volatile situations.”
The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will help address the concerns in the report with $10 million in grants for hospitals and a further $10 million for mental health services.
The Labor Government has also established an Occupation Violence Taskforce to identify issues and recommend reforms to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals. The taskforce will also advise on implementing our commitment to require health services to publically report violent incidents at hospitals.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“Violence in any workplace is totally unacceptable. It is especially concerning that our dedicated doctors and nurses who care for others – often at their most vulnerable – face a greater risk of violence.”
“Our highly skilled frontline health care workers deserve to feel safe at work so they can do their job treating patients and saving lives.”
“With the busy New Year’s eve period fast approaching, please remember to give our hardworking doctors and nurses the respect they deserve – we will not tolerate threats, abuse or assaults against our doctors, nurses and paramedics.”
Reviewed 10 February 2021