Queensland government’s new initiatives keeping healthcare workers safe

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Queensland Government’s new initiatives have significantly improved safety for staff, patients and their families.

The initiatives were implemented in response to key recommendations from the Occupational Violence Oversight Committee.

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Cameron Dick said the Palasczuk Government formed the Committee and rolled out a range of initiatives to ensure the safety of frontline healthcare workers now and well into the future.

“There has never been more support for staff and patients on the ground to combat the issue of violence in our hospitals which is a scourge on both our health system and our wider community,” said Mr Dick.

“Our dedicated doctors, nurses and paramedics come to work to look after patients – not to become patients themselves.”

“No matter what the case or the cause, there is no excuse for abuse.

“That’s why over the past six months we’ve been hard at work implementing everything from CCTV cameras and voice-activated duress alarms, to more security officers, peer support programs and de=escalation training to prevent unnecessary violence from occurring in our hospitals and community health services.”

Head of Committee and Chief Executive of Metro North, Ken Whelan, said hospitals across the state are benefitting from the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations.

“Every security officer at Metro North HHS and Gold Coast HHS are now wearing body-worn cameras with the option soon to be available for every hospital in Queensland,” he said.

“These cameras are the same our colleagues in the Queensland Police Service use and they are making a big difference, not only acting as a deterrent for potential violence but also assisting the QPS when it comes to prosecuting offenders.”

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Emergency Department specialist Dr David Rosengren said positive reports of changes on safety have been reported.

“Anecdotally, what we’re hearing is these initiatives really are working to safeguard our staff and to change community behaviour and attitudes towards them, and that we’re seeing less violent and aggressive incidents occurring as a result,” said Dr Rosengren.

“Our clinical staff are also more confident and self-assured knowing that they are now better protected from becoming a punching bag while they are practicing, and they can now focus their attention on the job at hand, which is providing vital health services for the community.”

Mr Dick said more initiatives will be implemented to protect frontline staff. These include:

  • Development of a statewide central victim support unit framework to support health workers who have become victims of violence, particularly workers whose perpetrators are going through the court system
  • Revision of security guidelines for the first time in 16 years to reflect current practises
  • Upgrades to CCTV at Redlands and Queen Elizabeth II hospitals
  • Upgrades to security or after-hours car park at Maryborough Hospital
  • Extra security officers at Gladstone Hospital
  • Improved processes for responding to and investigating documented cases of occupational violence across the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service
  • Implement suitable de-escalation training for staff in Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service
  • Increase CCTV at Mornington Island
  • Review of CCTV equipment at Bundaberg Hospital
  • Central West HHS will soon begin occupational training sessions.

“In all corners of our state, from Cape York to Coolangatta, we want Queenslanders to know that whether they’re visiting our hospitals to work, to stay or to drop in to see a sick loved one, we are doing everything we can to ensure they have a safe experience free from senseless violence,” said Mr Dick.

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