The McGowan Government has committed $11.23 million to reduce the scourge of violence and aggression at Western Australian public hospitals.
In August the Minister for Health hosted a Stop the Violence Summit, following which an initial $5 million was committed to address issues of violence in our hospitals. Today’s announcement of $11.23 million boosts this total funding package by $6.23 million and is the result of in-depth work undertaken by the Department of Health and WA hospitals.
The funding comprises $5.1 million in capital works expenditure to enhance CCTV coverage at health facilities across the State, as well as $6.13 million in recurrent funding to permanently boost security staff and Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) liaison staff at hospitals. This funding will be allocated to both metropolitan and regional health facilities.
Hospitals to receive CCTV upgrades include Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Royal Perth Bentley Group and Armadale Kalamunda Group.
WA country and regional health services will also receive more security funding and CCTV upgrades, with regional solutions tailored for each facility.
A public awareness campaign to reinforce the State Government’s zero tolerance approach to staff violence will also commence on November 10.
Further, within the $11.23 million funding, $600,000 has been allocated for an initial staff education and training package, which can be rolled out State-wide.
In addition, a State-wide ICT function – enabling hospital staff to flag patients who are aggressive – is being developed and working groups have been established to review existing hospital policies, training requirements for staff and patient-handover documentation.
This funding will support work already undertaken by the WA health system which includes partnering with WA Police to improve handover of persons in police custody requiring medical care, a review of hospital security staffing practices, and recruitment of Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) specialist positions.
The AOD positions will be based at Royal Perth, Fiona Stanley and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospitals, as well as Joondalup Health Campus and Armadale Health Service, with telehealth support for regional hospitals.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“Violence towards hospital staff is intolerable and the McGowan Government is committed to action to protect our staff and patients, today’s funding of over $11 million will help hospitals tackle this appalling violence.
“Since I hosted the Stop the Violence Summit in July, the Department of Health has been working with hospitals to assess their specific needs. As a result, we are delivering more security staff, enhanced CCTV and specialist drug and alcohol workers in our public hospital emergency departments.”
“We need the community’s assistance to stamp out this deplorable violent behaviour. Our hospital staff deserve more respect and should be able to get on with their job of saving lives without the threat of violence.”