End Violence Towards Health Care Workers

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End violence towards health workers

Nurses and HCAs are subjected to violence within the work place which have resulted in permanent and debilitating injuries and loss of livelihood. Some healthcare professionals have suffered permanent brain damage which prevents them from working, or which means they can only work in certain low-risk areas. Assaults have included boiling water being tipped over nurses, stabbings, strangulation, being knocked unconscious, bones being broken, nails torn out, sexual assault, and having flesh torn from the bone by bites and kicks. Nurses and HCAs are routinely punched, kicked, bitten and spat on. Sometimes the bodily fluids contain infections such as HIV, Hep C, and Hep B.

We acknowledge that it may not be possible to eradicate violence towards healthcare workers completely because it will never be possible to control and dictate the behaviour of patients and the public completely.

However, we demand that the government, DHBs and private hospitals take all steps within their power to protect the health care workers.

We want acknowledgement that restraint minimisation and assault minimisation are goals of equal value. Restraints happen almost entirely after patients have attacked staff or other patients, NOT before.

There is a private members bill being put before parliament to protect and deter people from attacking, paramedics, frist responders and prison guards. We demand nurse and health care workers to be added to this list. 

We demand law changes now before someone dies as a result of an assault in the work place. Protecting patients and ensuring that employers are held accountable for failure to provide a safe environment, failure to staff adequately, lack security to assist, damaged or unsecure facilities.  

We demand a review of the Mental Health Act to distinguish between the emotionally dysregulated, the (temporarily?) mentally disordered (drug induced psychosis) and the mentally unwell (ongoing mental health/psychiatric diagnosis). If someone drinks, get into a car, and kills someone, they are held accountable for their actions. If someone uses illicit drugs that increase the likelihood of violence and drug-induced psychosis, and then hurts someone, shouldn’t they be accountable for their actions?

We demand an inquiry into the national standard for protocols regarding seclusion, restraint management, and medication for patients who are psychotic and/or under the influence of drugs.

We demand immediate action taken when the work environment is unsafe and we depand employers to be investigated and held accountable for there negligence for not providing a safe environment for there employees. We demand security guards to be present in all at-risk areas immediately. We demand identified unsafe areas to be shut down immediately until repairs have been completed. We demand that employers be investigated and face heavy fines if it does not happen.

If health care workers are not safe in these environments, neither are you.