Victoria targets violence against healthcare workers

Tuesday, 05 September, 2017

Behavioural assessment rooms are being rolled out at some Victorian hospitals, designed to protect frontline workers from violence and aggression.

The emergency departments at 16 hospitals will be equipped with these rooms as part of the Victorian government’s $40 million plan to improve safety for the mental health workforce.

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

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.

Funding delivered as part of the government’s $40 million Health Service Violence Prevention Fund will enable public health services to start work on upgrading existing behaviour assessment rooms or build new ones.

In June, the government announced funding for a further five behavioural assessment rooms as well as providing a boost to security personnel at hospitals with emergency departments.

This coincided with the start of the It’s never OK campaign, designed to reduce occupational violence and aggression against health workers.

The first two rounds of funding have seen more than 60 health services receive funding for a range of projects, such as installing alarms, CCTV, access control doors, lighting and security systems, as well as redesigning waiting areas and trialling new equipment such as body-worn cameras for paramedics.

“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 okay.”

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