Nurses put hospital violence back onto local community agenda

Friday 31st May, 2013

Nurses across Australia have stepped up campaigns agains workplace violence - putting it back onto the political agenda and creating local community interest about the too often violent treatment nurses face at the hands of their patients.

Nurses and midwives are being punched, hit, kicked, pushed, threatened with weapons and receiving death threats while at work caring for patients in Victorian hospitals, ANF Victoria secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick told the Peninsula Weekly. The newspaper told its readers how this crisis is affecting their local Frankston Hospital.

Money for zero violence strategy 

In Tasmania the problems of assaults and abuses was getting worse. The ANF Tasmania secretary Neroli Ellis told the Burnie Advocate that nurses had to make safety a state election issue because no extra money for a strategy of zero violence had been put aside in the Budget just handed down by the Tasmanian Government.

While the Victorian government is now touting the extra CCTV cameras they are installing - for example at the Angliss Hospital - nurses pointed out to the Knox Weekly that they are really of little use if people were not employed to watch the cameras.

Why increased hospital violence?

" Footage can be useful for prosecution later, but if no one is looking at it, it gives little comfort that there will be a timely and appropriate response to a violent situation," Lisa Fitzpatrick said.

In a radio interview with the ABC Lisa Fitzpatrick explains what is behind the increasing levels of violence in our hospitals - and what can be done. Listen to the interview here.

Emergency room doctors are backing the nurses campaign telling Channel Seven News in Sydney that drugs are often the cause of hospital violence.