Real action to stop and reduce violence will make hospitals safer

Nurses and midwives are bitten, scratched, hit, punched, dragged, threatened and abused at work

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Thursday 16 June 2016


The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) has welcomed today’s Violence in Healthcare Taskforce final report and recommendations which address the grassroots changes needed for a systemic and cultural transformation of Victorian public health services.

Victorian Health Minister Jill Hennessy and Mental Health Minister Martin Foley this afternoon launched the ‘Violence in Healthcare Taskforce Report – Taking action to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals’ and opened round two of the Andrews Government’s Health Services Violence Prevention Fund.

ANMF (Vic Branch) Secretary Lisa Fitzpatrick said: “Serious violence is an ongoing issue for nurses and midwives in hospitals including emergency departments, but also areas such as mental health wards, birthing suites, and palliative care and rehabilitation wards. 

“We must also remember that violence against nurses, midwives and carers is unfortunately common in other health services such as nursing homes, visiting home services and community care.

“Nurses and midwives are bitten, scratched, hit, punched, dragged, threatened and abused at work and these recommendations provide real action that will stop and reduce violence in one of the most dangerous workplaces,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

“These recommendations address the frustrating systemic inconsistencies and failures, from executive to the ward level, that allow unacceptable violence against nurses and midwives to continue happening in our hospitals and health services,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

“Every step of the way systems have been against preventing and reducing violence in hospitals – the reporting system has been too complicated, de-escalation training has been inconsistent or non-existent and a patient’s prior violent history is not always available to the treating nurse or doctor.

“Violence also occurs because the system has historically reacted to violence when it occurs rather than implementing preventative strategies before violence happens and this is about to change.

“We’re also pleased that the 2005 Violence in Nursing Taskforce recommendations implemented under the previous Brumby Government will be independently reviewed and evaluated,” she said.

“ANMF was a member of the Violence in Healthcare Taskforce and looks forward to the implementation work and making hospitals a safer place to work,” she said.

Read the Violence in Healthcare Taskforce Report - Taking action to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals