Body camera trial to target violence against health workers
BODY cameras are being introduced to Ipswich Hospital and the state's biggest mental health research and treatment centre, on a trial basis.
It's part of a wider Queensland Health push to reduce incidents of violence and assaults on staff.
Across the state, health workers are abused more than 5000 times each year.
During the past 12 months, staff working across Ipswich's health facilities have been victims of actual physical violence 290 times.
The figure is lower than the same period in the previous year, when there were 315 incidents recorded but is still considered "unacceptable" by Ipswich's health boss Dr Kerrie Freeman.
Now West Moreton Health Service has confirmed body cameras, introduced to several other hospitals this year, will be trialled at Ipswich Hospital and The Park Centre for Mental Health.
The trial, which starts this month, will run for three months.
Footage from the cameras can be used as evidence in formal investigations but, the service acknowledged introducing cameras was unlikely to eliminate instances of verbal and physical abuse against health staff.
Abuse and violence against health workers has been a hot topic and the introduction of body cameras is not the only tactic being used to curb the growing problem.
CCTV cameras, voice-activated duress alarms, peer support programs, better reporting of incidents and de-escalation training for staff have been implemented across Queensland Health.
A community awareness campaign highlighting the reality of healthcare workers being assaulted on the job has also been launched.
Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles said the crackdown came in response to recommendations from the Paramedic Safety Management Committee and Occupational Violence Implementation Committee.
"Abusive and violent behaviour by anyone - patients, relatives or visitors - is unacceptable," Mr Miles said.
"No doctor, nurse or health worker should ever be the victim of violence in the workplace. Our hospitals have a zero tolerance to violence.
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"Unfortunately, health workers are still physically assaulted, threatened or verbally abused more than 5000 times each year.
"We have implemented strong, action-based solutions across Queensland in response to the key recommendations from the Paramedic Safety Management Committee and Occupational Violence Implementation Committee.
"There is no excuse for abuse.
"We will continue to expand and implement further measures to ensure our patients, staff and visitors are safe and cared for."