Enhanced safety measures aimed at curbing violence against Queensland health workers

Enhanced safety measures aimed at curbing violence against Queensland health workers

Enhanced safety measures aimed at curbing violence against Queensland health workers

Updated 19 September 2016, 15:50 AEST

More Queensland doctors and nurses will use body-worn cameras, CCTV cameras will be upgraded and more security officers will be hired to reduce physical and verbal violence against health workers.

More doctors and nurses will use body-worn cameras, CCTV cameras will be upgraded at several hospitals and more security officers will be hired to reduce the 3,000 annual reports of physical and verbal violence against health workers across Queensland.

Health Minister Cameron Dick said a range of measures would be rolled out in hospitals from the Gold Coast to the Torres Strait and Mt Isa, in response to recommendations from the an occupational violence taskforce.

A new committee of doctors, nurses, paramedics and police has also been formed for the purpose.

"The Occupational Violence Oversight Committee brings together some of the state's top experts, with the aim of strengthening the whole health system's response to this issue," Mr Dick said.

"Together, we are committed to turning this statistic around, but this is an ongoing issue which requires the support of the community to shift attitudes about what is acceptable behaviour in our hospitals and what is not."

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital emergency specialist David Rosengren said some staff would even take self-defence lessons.

"Not so long ago, one of my senior colleagues in the emergency department was savagely and cowardly knocked to the ground by a king hit to the back of the head," Dr Rosengren said.

"As healthcare workers we should not expect to need to be treated as patients ourselves.

"It's an enormous privilege to be able to provide world-class health care to people when they are sick and vulnerable, but it is a great shame that in order to do that we need to undertake training in self-defence."

'We're not going to tolerate verbal or physical violence'

Dr Rosengren said drugs and alcohol were partly to blame for the assaults.

"We also have members of our community who just behave badly in our health facilities with no good excuse," he said.

"We may have tolerated that more than we should in the past. But now we're joining together as a collective force to say we're not going to tolerate verbal or physical violence against our healthcare workers, no matter what the underlying cause is.

"We will work very closely with the police service to ensure that all incidents are reported and, where necessary, prosecuted."

Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle said health staff needed to be safe in their workplaces.

"Our members have a duty of care to deliver care to anybody that turns up at our facilities," she said.

"But employers have a duty of care to keep our members and other employees of the health system safe."