Fed up nurses and midwives urge the state government to take action following a spate of violent incidents

Port Augusta Hospital nurses and midwives join rolling anti-violence demonstration across the South Australian public health sector.
Port Augusta Hospital nurses and midwives join rolling anti-violence demonstration across the South Australian public health sector.

Nurses and Midwives at the Port Augusta Hospital are today taking a stand against violence and aggression directed at health care workers.

They stand with thousands of public health sector staff around the state who are participating in rolling demonstrations across SA Health work sites.

Participants are wearing purple scrubs and stickers to address what they perceive as state government inaction to understand how violence is impacting nursing and midwifery staff.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) CEO Elizabeth Dabars AM said the rolling work site action will continue until the government addresses their concerns.

"This on-the-ground action will progress through every Local Health Network in the public system until the State Government makes a firm commitment to act on measures that reflect the principles of the anti-violence plan successfully operating in Victoria," she said.

The Ten-Point Plan to End Violence and Aggression in Health Care, developed by the ANMF Victorian Branch, includes a number of overarching principles such as improved security, staff education, post-incident support and a consistent approach to violence across all disciplines.

"We gave the state government a blueprint to address violence almost a year ago, yet the only commitment they have given to us is the establishment of a new committee," Ms Dabars said.

"Nurses and midwives need and deserve a lot more than that. The community in their care deserves a lot more than that.

"Until our members can attend work safe in the knowledge that their employer is committed to eliminating violence and aggression in their health care setting, nurses and midwives will continue to campaign and call on Steven Marshall and Stephen Wade to act."

In response to the rolling demonstrations, SA Health have established a steering group to improve and strengthen safety in the workplace.

The group will review the current SA Health challenging behaviours strategy to ensure materials are clear, concise, targeted and support best practice, as well as developing awareness and education campaigns to address specific behaviours.

Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer Jennifer Hurley said a safe work environment is of upmost priority.

"Our hard-working nurses and midwives do an outstanding job caring for all patients, sometimes under difficult circumstances. As they provide care to others, we are determined to ensure they do not have to fear for their own safety," she said.

"The steering group will build on the good work that has already been done across the system, address gaps, and identify opportunities and innovative approaches to ensure ongoing improvements and safe work environments for all."

The new committee will comprise of senior leadership representatives from nursing and midwifery, medicine, allied health, mental health, as well as South Australian Ambulance Service and South Australia Police.

SA Health also claim immediate steps have been taken at public hospitals following recent violent incidents such as increased onsite security, as well as staff information sessions on personal and community safety and situational awareness, led by SAPOL.

Lighting, monitoring and functionality of CCTV, security patrols and duress alarm use has also been reviewed across hospitals.