ANMF launches 10-point plan to end violence against nurses

ANMF (Vic Branch) has developed and published a strategy to tackle the growing rate of violence and aggression in Victoria’s public health system.

A recent Monash University survey showed nearly 70 per cent of ANMF (Vic Branch) members had experienced violence or aggression in the workplace in the past year, with a quarter reporting experiencing violence or aggression on a regular basis.

Data released to Fairfax Media under freedom of information laws and published on Monday showed over 14,000* violent ‘Code Grey’ or ‘Code Black’ incidents were recorded across 14 major Victorian hospitals in 2012/13.

As reported in The Age newspaper today, the Branch is currently seeking political support for its ‘10-point plan to end violence and aggression against Victorian healthcare workers’ (download the 10-point plan).

The document has been delivered to the heads of the major Victorian political parties and they have been asked to commit to the plan on behalf of their parties and pledge to implement change within a reasonable time frame.

The 10-point plan outlines the necessary actions required to improve security and implement proactive measures to identify and address risks. It also aims to improve the reporting culture in Victoria’s hospitals and improve the tools to assist with reporting and investigation, recognising that the reporting system VHIMS/Riskman is woefully inadequate.

Importantly, to address the aftermath of violent workplace incidents, the plan also advocates appropriate post-incident support.

10-point plan summary

  1. Improve security
  2. Identify risk to staff and others
  3. Include family in the development of patient care plans
  4. Ensure violent incidents are reported, investigated and acted upon
  5. Prevent violence through workplace design
  6. Provide education and training to healthcare staff
  7. Integrate legislation, policies and procedures in a state-wide approach
  8. Provide post-incident support
  9. Apply anti-violence approach across all healthcare disciplines
  10. Empower staff to expect a safe workplace
ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said the 10-point plan provides a systematic approach to preventing violence, and keeping healthcare workers safe.

‘We want the next Victorian government to do what is necessary to prevent violence and aggression from being an everyday occurrence in our hospitals,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.

‘Real damage is being done. Violence and aggression should not be a part of healthcare workers’ jobs.

‘We believe our 10-point plan will be effective in working to prevent and stop the unacceptable levels of violence and aggression being experienced by healthcare workers, as it is underpinned by our extensive knowledge and research of the sector.

‘The need to adopt a state-wide approach across all health disciplines to tackle this issue is necessary.

‘We know from our 70,000-plus members that there are major issues with reporting and post-incident support that need to be addressed, as well as the need to implement a range of preventative measures to tackle risk of both patients and visitors or family to staff.

‘These, combined with the necessary improvements to the physical environment, such as better workplace design and additional resources for security, will go a long way to addressing the problem.’

The 10-point plan also addresses the alarming findings of the Monash University survey, especially in response to statistics which showed patients, and friends and relatives of patients, were the source of nearly 80 per cent of the violence and aggression experienced by members.

It was a 50/50 split between patients (40 per cent) as the source of incidents and patients’ friends and relatives (40 per cent), outlining the need to address all as potential aggressors.

Education also raised a red flag, with 32 per cent of respondents saying they had received no training in managing violence and aggression.

ANMF (Vic Branch) media contact:
Samantha Sonogan
0417 523 252

*Incidents are likely to be much higher as a non-reporting culture exists within hospitals due to time-consuming reporting mechanisms and a failure of management to follow through on reports or provide appropriate post-incident support.