Procedure review possible after increase in nurse assaults

Stock image.
Stock image.

HEALTH Minister Roger Cook says the way people in police custody are transferred to hospital staff could be reviewed, while revealing troubling new figures on nurse assaults today in Parliament.

The figures were tabled after Royal Perth Hospital staff were left shaken by the alleged stabbing of a 55-year-old nurse in the acute surgical ward on Sunday, May 12 by a 30-year-old man who has since been charged and will next face court on May 27.

“I am advised the Commissioner of Police has spoken to the Director General of Health regarding the latest incidents of a deeply concerning assault at Royal Perth Hospital,” Mr Cook said.

“I have requested advice on a potential memorandum of understanding on the transfer of people in the custody of police to hospital staff.”

Mr Cook will also meet with frontline hospital staff and their representatives in coming months to listen to their views on what can be done to improve safety.

The figures tabled were July to December statistics for 2017 and 2018 on the incidents of violence against nurses at the request of the Opposition leader Mike Nahan as a question on notice.

These figures included a spike of 107 assaults recorded against nurses at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in just one month, in October last year.

Mr Cook said he acknowledged more needed to be done to help protect frontline health staff and asked the Department of Health to review recent incidents, and data regarding hospital assaults to identify any new strategies.

Assaults against nurses

Princess Margaret Hospital:

2017 July to Dec        23 assaults

2018 July to Dec        30 assaults

East Metro Health Service:

2017 July to Dec       64 assaults

2018 July to Dec       104 assaults

South Metro Health Service:

2017 July to Dec       174 assaults

2018 July to Dec       183 assaults

North Metro Health Service:

2017 July to Dec        394 assaults

2018 July to Dec       617 assaults