Victorian hospitals now safer for health workers

Frontline health workers at several hospitals in Victoria will be safer at work with the rollout of behavioural assessment rooms in emergency departments as part of the NSW Government’s $ 40 million plan to protect healthcare workers from violence and aggression.

The funding will allow public health services to start work on upgrading existing behaviour assessment rooms or building new ones.

It is estimated that up to 95 percent of healthcare workers have been physically or verbally attacked while carrying out their jobs.

This effort forms part of the government’s campaign against occupational violence.

Behavioural assessment rooms are separate areas purpose built for staff to better assess and manage patients who present to emergency departments exhibiting behaviours of concern, and who may place themselves, staff or others at risk of harm.

“Our healthcare workers deserve to feel and be safe at work. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to support those who care for and save the lives of Victorians,” said Minister for Health Jill Hennessy.

“Behavioural assessment rooms will help keep our staff safe and send a message to Victorians that violence against healthcare workers is never OK.”

In June, the government announced funding for five more behavioural assessment rooms and providing a boost to security personnel at hospitals with emergency departments. The announcement coincided with the start of the “It’s Never OK” campaign designed to reduce occupational violence against health workers.

The first two rounds of the funding have seen over 60 health services receive fund for projects like installing alarms. CCTV, lighting and security systems as well as redesigning waiting areas and trialling new equipment such as body-worn cameras for paramedics.

“We’re working to ensure we provide secure and safe services for patients and staff alike,” said Minister for Mental Health Martin Foley.

“We have zero tolerance for violence and aggression against our mental health workers – who care for Victorians at their most vulnerable and deserve our respect.”

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