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$20 Million Fund Will Address Auditor-General Concerns

06 May 2015

The $20 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund announced in yesterday’s 2015-16 Victorian Budget will help make public hospitals and mental health services safer for staff, patients and visitors.

The Fund will help to address a number of concerns raised in the Victorian Auditor-General’s Report into Occupational Violence Against Healthcare Workers, tabled in Parliament today.

Violence in any workplace is unacceptable, but it is particularly concerning that those who care for others – often at their most vulnerable – face an elevated risk of violence.

The Report found that our 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 Report found that the full extent of the problems in Victoria’s public hospitals and Ambulance Victoria is unknown, due to under-reporting of incidents and a lack of consistent or comparable data.

The Andrews Labor Government yesterday announced $20 million to improve facilities in hospitals and mental health services.

The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will be rolled out over the next four years, and includes $10 million in grants for hospitals and health services for capital works, with a further $10 million for mental health services.

These grants could be used to create separate families’ and children’s waiting rooms from other areas where incidents are more likely to occur; to modify rooms so that they have two points of entry and exit; or to install security cameras.

In addition, the Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan includes $1 million for training and support for health workers treating people affected by the drug, who can be prone to violent outbursts.

In the Report, the Auditor-General recommended greater guidance and training for health services, revamped collection, analysis and use of data, and a review and evaluation of prevention measures.

The recommendations align with the Government’s commitment to establish a simplified reporting mechanism and require health service Boards to publicly report violent incidents.

The Government's 10-year Mental Health Plan will also identify opportunities to provide better support to staff working in mental health services, including through better workforce planning.

Prior to the election, the Government signed up to the ANMF’s 10-Point Plan, which includes a range of proactive measures to identify and address risks of violence to nurses and other staff.

The Government is committed to implementing these and other changes to reduce occupational violence against our health workforce.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy

“We will not tolerate threats, abuse or assaults against our doctors, nurses, paramedics and health professionals. If violence in the workplace occurs – it will be taken seriously.”

“The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will help health services identify solutions to make their hospitals safer.”

“Our hardworking nurses and doctors and their colleagues take care of us when we are at our most vulnerable. They do not deserve to be the target of someone’s frustrations or aggression.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley

“No one should feel unsafe at work, and it’s particularly challenging for those working in mental health who inherently want to help their patients but may be putting themselves at risk of violence.”

“Sadly, alcohol and drugs is playing an increasing role in violence against our nurses and doctors.”

“Victoria’s mental health system was neglected and undervalued under the previous Liberal Government, and they didn’t invest in the safety of our health workforce.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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