The Andrews Labor Government has established an Occupational Violence Taskforce to identify issues and recommend reforms to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals.
The Occupational Violence Taskforce will be chaired by Clare Amies, the new Chief Executive of Worksafe and former Chief Executive Officer of Western Region Health Centre.
Members of the Taskforce will include representatives from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, the Australian Medical Association, health services, the Victorian Managed Insurance Agency, and the Health and Community Services Union.
A recent report by the Victorian Auditor-General 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,” and called for more to be done to reduce the risks associated with violence against healthcare workers.
The Taskforce will look closely at the Auditor-General’s recommendations and identify opportunities for reform.
The Taskforce will also support the roll out of the Government’s $20 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund.
Grants from this Fund 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.
The Taskforce will also advise on the implementation of the Government’s commitment to require health services to publicly report violent incidents at hospitals.
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.
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 measures and other changes to reduce occupational violence against our health workforce and to help make public hospitals and mental health services safer for staff, patients and visitors.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy
“Violence in any workplace is unacceptable, but it is particularly concerning that those who care for others – often at their most vulnerable – face an increased risk of violence.”
“Sadly, the full extent of violence in our hospitals is unknown due to under-reporting of incidents and a lack of consistent or comparable data.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is committed to reducing violence against our doctors, nurses and mental health workers, and we want to work with them to make our hospitals safer.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020