WA plan to tackle violence in hospitals

Health Minister Roger Cook talks to the media.
Health Minister Roger Cook talks to the media.

MORE security, a public awareness campaign and clinicians posted to jails are part of a $5 million commitment to reduce violence in Western Australian hospitals.

The short-term government plan is in response to a recent anti-violence summit, which was attended by more than 100 healthcare staff as well as security and union members.

“This new funding is the first step to stamp out this deplorable trend of violence and ensure our staff feel safe,” Health Minister Roger Cook said in a statement on Sunday.

The $5 million will be put towards increasing the security presence at hospitals, as well as improving security training for staff and a review of procedures.

Work has already begun on strengthening hospitals’ working relationships with WA Police.

The government hopes to improve the handover process for patients in police custody, with one aspect being to have clinicians treat patients in jail instead of being brought to the emergency department.

Additional alcohol and drug specialist staff will also be posted at five separate hospitals across Perth, while a public awareness campaign will be launched to encourage patients and visitors to think about their actions.

“One act of aggression towards our hospital staff is one act too many,” Mr Cook said.

“Our healthcare workers provide life-saving treatment to the sickest and most vulnerable Western Australians, and should be able to do so in a safe environment.”