- More than 110 health staff and industry stakeholders attend summit to explore ways to stop violence against health staff
- A 38 per cent increase in assaults on nurses in our health system between 2017 and 2018
The Western Australian Government will host a summit today to identify strategies to address the increasing levels of violence against frontline health staff across the WA system.
Health Minister Roger Cook convened the Stop the Violence Summit in response to rising rates of violence and aggression against frontline health staff in the WA public health system.
It will bring together health leaders, frontline health staff and representatives from WA Police, St John Ambulance, the mental health, drug and alcohol sectors as well as unions and health consumers to make recommendations for action to the State Government.
Statistics show an alarming 38 per cent increase in assaults on nurses in particular in the WA health system, which represents a jump from 703 incidents in the second half of 2017 to 971 incidents during the same period in 2018.
The discussion is expected to explore a range of issues, including current security measures, the powers of security officers, public education, and other key priority areas which may boost staff safety.
The Department of Health will compile a report on the summit's findings and present it to the Minister for consideration.
This latest initiative strengthens the McGowan Government's commitment to protect health staff, which has included $2.2 million to purchase protective equipment and a $76.4 million (8.4 per cent) increase in mental health, alcohol and other drug service expenditure.
Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:
"Assaulting health staff is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. I am appalled by the rise in acts of violence and aggression, people who behave like this are not welcome in our public hospitals.
"Violence against health staff has wide-ranging consequences which impact the psychological and physical wellbeing of staff, patients and visitors and, in some instances, puts health care provision at risk.
"The frontline staff who work in our public hospitals perform a vital role, they do an incredible job and should be treated with the utmost respect. Any act of violence against staff who are there to care for people is disgraceful.
"WA hospitals are already working hard to support and protect staff from violent and aggressive behaviour but we know that more needs to be done.
"This summit will bring together expert opinion and experience to galvanise further action surrounding this important issue.
Minister's office - 6552 6500