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ED staff campaign to reduce occupational violence

Royal Melbourne Hospital has released CCTV footage showing incidences of violence in the emergency department in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers faced by staff.

The footage was used to create the Help Us, Help You campaign to protect staff against occupational violence and harassment in the healthcare sector.

RMH emergency department nurse unit manager Susan Harding said the video was a personal approach to showing the public what staff regularly see and experience while on shift.

Harding said up to 95 per cent of healthcare workers had experienced verbal or physical assault on the job, and the video aimed to reduce that statistic.

“We hope the video, which incorporates examples of what emergency staff experience and CCTV footage of actual incidents, has a positive effect on people in the ED waiting room and watching this on social media,” she said.

“We want our patients and visitors to understand we are committed to providing the best possible care for them, but to do this we must ensure the absolute safety of the people who provide that care.

“In healthcare we sometimes tend to think that occupational violence and aggression is just part of the job, but occupational violence and aggression wears many different hats and takes many different forms.

"We really wanted to change the thinking and help our staff to understand that violence and aggression in their workplace is unacceptable, and that’s not what they come to work for every day.”

The video complements the Department of Health and Human Services and Worksafe Victoria's Occupational Violence and Aggression campaign launched last year.

There were almost 7,500 code greys (combative or abusive persons) at RMH in 2017.

Of the incidents reported, the most common forms of aggression in the emergency department were physical violence, threatening behaviour and harassment.

Harding presented the video, together with initiatives developed by the emergency department team, at a national conference on hospital safety and security last week.

It will now be played in the emergency department waiting room and on social media.

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