Lyell McEwin Hospital nurses start anti-violence demonstrations 

30 August 2019

Nurses at a hospital where one of their own was stabbed earlier this year are today taking action to visibly demonstrate the impact of the State Government’s lack of action on a plan to address violence and aggression in health care.

Lyell McEwin Hospital Emergency Department nurses are among thousands of public sector nurses and midwives who will participate in rolling demonstrations across SA Health worksites, wearing stickers that explicitly demonstrate how the absence of a plan to address violence is impacting on nursing and midwifery staff.

As the voice of 21,000 nurses, midwives and personal care workers, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM says the rolling worksite action will continue until the Steven Marshall Government steps up to protect its health care employees.

“A nurse was violently attacked outside the Lyell McEwin Hospital in June this year, yet here we are more than two months later, and the State Government has still not acted on a plan to reduce the risk of such an incident ever happening again,” Ms Dabars says.

“At this site in particular, lighting issues still remain a concern and staff still fear for their safety while working within the hospital as well as getting to and from their vehicles,” she says.

“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.”

The Ten-Point Plan to End Violence and Aggression in Health Care developed originally by the ANMF Victorian Branch includes the following overarching principles:

  • Improve security
  • Identify risks to staff and others
  • Include patients and their families in care planning
  • Report, investigate and act
  • Prevent violence through workplace design
  • Educate staff
  • Integrate legislation, policies and procedures
  • Provide post-incident support
  • Apply consistent approach to violence across disciplines
  • Empower staff to expect a safe workplace.

“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. 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.”

The stickers that will ultimately be worn by thousands of South Australian nurses and midwives clearly demonstrate the impact of the State Government’s failure to act to protect health care staff.