Violence and aggression is not part of a nurse or midwife’s job yet they, and other healthcare workers, are frequently on the receiving end in their workplaces.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association (NSWNMA) supports today’s efforts by Health Services Union NSW members to raise awareness of this insidious problem occurring statewide.
NSWNMA Acting General Secretary, Judith Kiejda, said current violence prevention measures in hospitals and other health settings were clearly not a deterrent and it was time for the government to act.
“It’s not acceptable for frontline nurses and midwives, or any health worker for that matter, to be threatened at work,” said Ms Kiejda.
“It’s not normal to go into work expecting to be assaulted, yet that is what’s happening. Violent and aggressive behaviour has become so frequent that it has become normalised, which is not okay.
“We have said many times before, this is a systemic issue across the entire health sector – public, private, aged care, mental health and community health workers are all being impacted.
“We’ve participated in reviews and roundtables, and made submission after submission, yet the problems still exist.
“We appreciate it is a complex issue and therefore requires a broad approach, but there are steps that could already be implemented to help tackle the problems and also address the concerns of workers.
“Increasing hospital security is only one element. We believe understaffing is a major contributing factor and it requires urgent attention.
“Improved staff to patient ratios would definitely help to alleviate some of the pressures, yet we’re in a constant battle over the bare minimum of staffing.”
The NSWNMA will be working with local branches on statewide actions during national SafeWork month in October to continue the public campaign against violence and aggression.
Ms Kiejda said the NSWNMA would continue to raise concerns directly with the Health Minister and the NSW Ministry of Health on the issue.
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