Wimmera health chiefs question public reporting of violent incidents

CONCERNS: Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott is unsure whether public reporting of violent incidents in hospitals would be of value. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

CONCERNS: Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott is unsure whether public reporting of violent incidents in hospitals would be of value. Picture: SAMANTHA CAMARRI

WIMMERA health service executives have expressed doubts over a Labor move to publicly report all violent incidents in hospitals.

If elected, State Labor will make information about 'code grey' and 'code black' incidents in hospitals public. Under the policy, health services would be required to report every incident, and information would be publicly available.

Shadow Health Minister Gavin Jennings said occupational violence in the health system was a serious problem that needed to be brought to light.

"No-one should ever have to face violence and aggression at their place of work, and those who do deserve a real reporting system that has real consequences," he said.

Rural Northwest Health chief executive Catherine Morley said public reporting might not suit all violent incidents in hospitals.

"We are dealing with sick people and I don't know if making every incident public will help every person," she said.

Ms Morley said violent incidents had led to changes at Rural Northwest Health. She said violent incidents could sometimes be difficult to manage because of the size of the service.

"We're a small rural health service and sometimes there are only two staff on at night," Ms Morley said.

"We don't have a big burly security guard."

Wimmera Health Care Group chief executive Chris Scott said he was unsure whether public reporting would have any value.

"It's a pretty broad statement to say there would be public reporting," he said.

"I'm just not sure how that would be done. I'd need to see more clarity around the actual policy about how it would be implemented."

Mr Scott said the rise in 'ice' use and alcohol-related violence had seen violent incidents become more frequent.

"It's affecting their behaviour and that unacceptable level of poor violence is impacting on our services and particularly on our staff," he said. "We have a robust code black and code grey system and we have a very low tolerance level for violent and aggressive behaviour in the hospital and in the emergency department."

Mr Scott said people needed to respect hospital staff.

Health Minister David Davis said the government would consider making violence in hospitals public.

"Each health service now logs these types of incidents," he said.

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