Health services are now able to apply for funding to reduce and prevent violence through the Andrews Labor Government’s $20 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund.
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, and $10 million for mental health services.
Violence in any workplace is unacceptable, but it is particularly concerning that those who care for others face an elevated risk of violence.
Under the first round of funding, $3 million is available in 2015-16 for eligible services to improve their facilities, making them safer for staff, patients and visitors. Grants will be provided to successful applicants in January 2016.
Services will complete a risk assessment as part of their application, to ensure funding is allocated to highest priority areas where the changes will make a real difference.
Individual health services are best placed to identify what improvements are needed to make their facilities safe, but grants could be used, for example, 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 provide personal security devices or to install security cameras.
The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will help to address concerns raised in the Victorian Auditor-General’s recent Occupational Violence Against Healthcare Workers Report, which found that 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 Labor Government’s $45.5 million Ice Action Plan also includes $1 million for training and support for health workers treating people affected by the drug, who can be prone to violent outbursts.
The Government is committed to reducing occupational violence against health workers, and supports a range of proactive measures addressed in the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s 10-Point Plan. Also, in developing the new 10-year Mental Health Strategy, the Government will also explore opportunities to provide better support to staff working in mental health services, including through better workforce planning.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Jill Hennessy
“Our hardworking doctors, nurses and hospital staff 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.”
“The Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will help health services identify solutions to make their hospitals safer for their staff, for patients, and for visitors.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley
"Everyone should be safe at work, particularly those professionals working in mental health. Our doctors and nurses pride themselves on putting the interests of their patients first, and we need to ensure they have a safe environment to work in."
“Sadly, alcohol and drugs are playing an increasing role in violence against our nurses and doctors.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020