$5 million has been allocated across the WA health system to help stop violence and aggression in hospitals.
This is after the Health Minister Roger Cook convened a Stop the Violence Summit in response to the increasing rates of aggression against frontline health staff. Following the summit, the Health Director-General and the East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS) Chief Executive commenced a system-wide approach to address violence and make WA’s public hospitals safer for staff, as well as patients and visitors.
“One act of aggression towards our hospital staff is one act too many. Our healthcare workers provide life-saving treatment to the sickest and most vulnerable Western Australians and should be able to do so in a safe environment,” said Mr. Cook.
“This new funding is the first step to stamp out this deplorable trend of violence and ensure our staff feels safe. It will provide enhanced security and more specialist clinical staff, there will also be a public awareness campaign because we need the support of the entire community to effect change.”
The fund will be used to implement short term actions which include:
- Increase in security staff numbers and review of procedures at hospital sites, to allow “flex up” capacity to cover peak periods and support Emergency Department (ED). The funding will also be used to improve security training for staff
- Additional Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) specialist positions at five hospitals: Royal Perth Hospital, Fiona Stanley Hospital, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Joondalup Health Campus and Armadale Health Service.
- Development of a public awareness campaign that encourages patients and visitors to consider the impact of their actions on others, The campaign will run across radio, digital channels and outdoor media, with complementary messaging also displayed within hospitals.
Preparatory work has also started on other important strategies including partnering with the WA Police Force to improve patient handover processes from police to hospital staff and improve in-reach services to patients in custody to minimise violent and aggressive patients being brought to ED when they could potentially be treated by clinicians in the lock-up, reviewing security equipment requirements, developing a system-wide training package for hospital staff to identify and manage agitated patients, enhancing support options for staff following violent incidents; and developing tools and protocols for monitoring patients at high risk of violence and aggression.
“Strengthening processes with WA Police and providing in-reach medical services at police facilities such as the Perth lock-up will go a long way to help violence and snit-social behaviour in our hospitals,” said Mr. Cook.
“I urge the community to help us to condemn this behaviour, when you attend a public hospital you expect the best care, so treat the staff with the respect they deserve and let them get on with the job of saving lives.”