Funds to protect health workers from workplace violence

More than 22 health services will share in more than $ 7 million of funding for equipment to help keep frontline workers safe in Victoria.

Minister for Health Jill Hennessy made the announcement while visiting St. Vincent’s Hospital today.

The Victorian Government’s Health Service Violence Prevention  Fund will benefit 11 metropolitan health services and 11 regional and rural health services, of which 14 are health services with mental health services.

Safety and security upgrades included in this round of funding include more CCTV systems, duress alarms, access control doors, as well as projects to redesign waiting areas, build sensory rooms and redesign entrances.

The government will also expand trials of new equipment such as body-worn cameras at Dandenong Hospital and Monash Medical Centre in Clayton, as well as providing stab-proof vests at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Fitzroy.

More than 60 health services so far have received funding for several safety initiatives. The government is also investing an extra $ 20 million in the Health Service Violence Fund, taking the total to $ 40 million. This includes new behavioural assessment rooms at 16 Victorian hospitals to better manage and assess patients who may place themselves, staff or others at risk of harm.

In addition to an extra 123 full-time equivalent security guards being deployed to 30 hospitals across 43 hospital sites in Victoria, all hospitals are also required to implement a clear and standardised Code Grey policy for responding to, preventing or reducing a violent situation.

“Our hardworking doctors, nurses, and paramedics are not punching bags. Abuse is not part of the job and won’t be tolerated,” said Minister Hennessy.

“This fund delivers on our promise to reduce violence at hospitals and mental health services by making them safer for all, especially health workers are front-line caring for us and saving lives.”

It is estimated that up to 95 percent of healthcare workers have experienced physical or verbal attacks while simply doing their job caring for others and saving lives.

“Our dedicated mental health workers look after Victorians at their most vulnerable. They deserve our respect and protection from violence and aggression,” said Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley.

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