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Taking a stand against health worker violence

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The Andrews Labor Government will launch a new public awareness campaign to reduce violence in Victorian hospitals as part of a plan to stop attacks against frontline health workers.

Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy has joined Minister for Mental Health, Martin Foley to release the Violence in Healthcare Taskforce Report which sets out a number of measures to tackle violence in the health system.

The Taskforce, chaired by WorkSafe Chief Executive Officer, Clare Amies, found a critical need for improved awareness and reporting of violence in our health system, and recommended immediate action, including:

* Develop a public awareness campaign

* Support more training for frontline workers, including how to de-escalate potentially violent situations

* Identify and review code grey responses (a hospital-wide coordinated clinical and security response to actual or potential aggression or violence) across all health services, and survey security responses

* Develop and implement a simplified reporting system

* Continue to support the rollout of the Health Service Violence Prevention Fund

The Government has accepted all recommendations, and work is already underway to implement them, an official press release said on June 16.

The release of the report comes as the Government announced the expansion of the second round of the Health Service Violence Prevention Fund to include applications from Ambulance Victoria to help keep our paramedics safe.

Health services, mental health facilities and Ambulance Victoria can now apply for a share of $7 million in round two funding to support projects to reduce and prevent violence.

The first round of the Fund saw $3 million provided to 33 Victorian health services – including 21 rural health services and 12 metropolitan services – to help make the hospitals safer for staff, patients and visitors.

Successful projects included high performance protective vests to increase the safety of security officers, modifications to improve the safety of emergency departments with separate waiting areas, duress alarms and the rollout of state-of-the-art ‘3G Safety Watch’ for mental health teams.

The recent Victorian Budget 2016/17 provided an additional $6.5 million for training and support for frontline workers to respond safely to violent and aggressive people affected by ice.

The Government’s 10-year Mental Health Plan will also explore opportunities to provide better support to staff working in mental health services, including through better workforce planning.

The Violence in Healthcare Taskforce Report is available at  https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/taskforcereport  (TIW)

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