AN urgent summit with medical staff is needed to address the increasing level of violence in West Australian hospitals following a stabbing attack on a nurse, unions say.
The 55-year-old nurse was stabbed in the neck with a makeshift weapon while helping a patient in a multi-bed ward at Royal Perth Hospital on Sunday.
The accused man had been a patient at the hospital for about 12 hours and had been moved from the emergency department to the acute surgical ward where the alleged assault happened.
United Voice WA secretary Carolyn Smith said statistics from last year showed violent incidents in WA hospitals were on the rise, with one every hour.
“There are things the government can do right now to help. We need more security guards and support for health workers in our hospitals,” she said on Thursday.
“However, these actions will not address the underlying issues.”
Ms Smith said frontline staff must be involved in shaping any fundamental changes to hospitals.
She also noted drug abuse and mental health issues made it a more complex problem.
“We need to tackle this issue at the root to make sure that our hospitals are places where people go to get better, not be put in more danger,” she said.
Health minister Roger Cook this week vowed to investigate Sunday’s attack and consult frontline hospital staff.
Police have charged a 30-year-old man with aggravated assault on a public officer and possession of a controlled weapon in a manner likely to cause injury.