Vic hospitals to get stab vests and alarms

Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy says frontline hospital staff are getting safety equipment.
Victoria's Health Minister Jill Hennessy says frontline hospital staff are getting safety equipment.

Stab-proof vests and duress alarms are being rolled out across Victorian hospitals to try and protect staff from violent patients.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy on Tuesday announced $7 million in funding would be provided to help keep frontline staff safe from violence in the workplace.

"The unpredictable nature of many patients, particularly those affected by mental health challenges and drug and alcohol issues has meant that for too long and too many instances our healthcare workers have faced occupational violence and aggression," Ms Hennessy said.

Security staff, doctors and nurses would be equipped with some of the tools including the vests, duress alarms, body cameras, while there will be improved CCTV for hospitals.

The new safety equipment will go to 11 metropolitan health services and 11 regional and rural health services. Of those 14 had provided mental health facilities.

Melbourne's St Vincent's hospital would receive the 22 stab-proof vests and more body cameras would be provided at Dandenong Hospital and Monash Medical Centre at Clayton.

"We asked health services to identify their risks and identify what interventions would better address those risks and each health service has been provided with funding according to what their application is," Ms Hennessay said.

Security staff at Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital will get the vests, aggression prevention co-ordinator Tiffany Plummer said.

A nurse for 30 years, Ms Plummer has been a victim of patient aggression.

"A situation arose that I was at a back of a bed and couldn't escape because the person jumped out of the bed and blocked the exit, " she recounted.

"There wasn't a duress alarm and I did lose my voice so it was frightening."

The move to protect frontline hospital staff comes amid a court case of a man accused of fatally punching a surgeon outside a Melbourne hospital after the alleged agressor was asked to stop smoking.

National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

Australian Associated Press