Mental health and rising violence at our hospitals

10 July 2020

Figures obtained by Seven News show violent incidents involving hospital patients are on the rise, with over 6500 Code Black incidents to date this year - or 36 a day.

The rising violence is despite the decrease in emergency department presentations overall, believed due to social distancing.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital has recorded the highest number of Code Blacks, with 1799 incidents, followed by the Lyell McEwin Hospital (1599) and the Flinders Medical Centre (1044).

“Nurses being spat at, punches thrown, kicked, sworn at – it’s just completely unacceptable,’’ ANMF (SA Branch) CEO/Secretary Adj. Associate Professor Elizabeth Dabars AM told Seven News.

AMA state president Dr Chris Moy says the coronavirus pandemic has probably made mental health issues worse and “possibly made drug and alcohol problems worse’’.

Both the ANMF (SA Branch) and the AMA are calling for more services for those with mental health and drug and alcohol issues, to help combat violence in hospitals.

“Mental health issues appear to be another tragic consequence of the COVID pandemic as people struggle with the social and economic ramifications and also uncertainty about the future,’’ Ms Dabars said.

“Clearly both state and federal Governments need to address this issue urgently before it spirals out of control.’’