SOUTH West Healthcare (SWH) will have 24-hour security coverage thanks to new state government funding.
SWH has been awarded $118,000 as part of a $6.7 million funding allocation, shared by 30 health services across the state, to increase security staffing and mobile security patrol services in hospitals.
The funding will run until the end of the financial year.
SWH director of nursing Julianne Clift said security had been in place from 9.30pm to 7.30am from Mondays to Fridays and noon to 7.30am on weekends and public holidays.
“Having security is certainly a deterrent to people mucking up,” Ms Clift said.
“The world is a changing place and it is shame to think we need increased security but we do.
“Those who go into nursing do so to care for other people, so it is disappointing they get abused and hit. This 24-hour coverage will give staff a greater sense of security.”
Figures from SWH from January 2016 to June 2017 show there were 58 incidents of aggression against staff in the emergency department. There were a further 56 on the wards and 103 in the mental health unit.
Ms Clift said while drugs and alcohol were often the cause of aggression, there were other factors.
“We have an ageing population so patients with dementia are becoming more prevalent,” she said.
“Dementia can cause aggressive behaviour which nurses and doctors often have to deal with.”
Data collected by the Victorian government estimates up to 95 per cent of healthcare workers have experienced physical or verbal attacks on the job.
Victorian Minister for Health Jill Hennessy said the government was committed to stamping out aggression towards health workers.
“There is just no excuse whatsoever for aggression towards staff in our hospitals,” Ms Hennessy said.
“Too often health workers are confronted with abuse and threats, all while doing their best caring for us.”