The impact of workplace violence and aggression is a global problem confronting all health care workers. Nurses and midwives, at the forefront of health care delivery, are the largest health care group exposed to occupational violence and aggression.
The fundamental rights of nurses and midwives to be safe and protected is a priority for the ACT Government. ACT Health Directorate is committed to improving workplace safety and continued compliance with legislated responsibility to protect workers and others from harm.
In December 2018, Minister for Mental Health Shane Rattenbury and the former Minister for Health and Wellbeing Meegan Fitzharris launched ACT Health’s The Nurses and Midwives: Towards a Safer Culture – The First Step – Strategy which outlines our vision of an ACT public health care system where staff, patients and visitors are protected from harm and feel safe at all times. The Strategy makes recommendations for creating a safer and healthier environment for all staff and persons who enter ACT public health workplaces.
Accompanying the Strategy is our Implementation Plan, which will guide our work to deliver the recommendations in the Strategy, and a Discussion Paper, which outlines the foundations on which the Strategy was developed.
This Strategy is led by ACT Health Directorate and encompasses Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.
We have worked closely with our stakeholders and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation in the development of this Strategy.
Nurses and Midwives: Towards a Safer Culture project activity
The Nurses and Midwives: Towards a Safer Culture (NM TASC) project supports an approach to a safe culture that relies on leadership and collaboration cross all ACT public health services, including ACT Health Directorate, Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce.
Informed by the work of the NM TASC Steering Committee and Advisory Group, the Strategy and Implementation Plan provides a foundation for positive cultural change within ACT health care settings to reduce harm to staff, patients and visitors.
One priority action area is the implementation of the Safewards Model (Safewards) across all in-patient wards at Canberra Health Services and Calvary Public Hospital Bruce .
Safewards is an evidence-based clinical model developed in the United Kingdom to promote safer, less coercive practices in mental health care to reduce incidents of conflict involving consumers and staff. The Safewards model and associated interventions have been highly effective in reducing conflict and containment, and increasing a sense of safety and mutual support for staff and patients
Safewards has demonstrated a significant positive cultural change in promoting the rights and dignity of staff and consumers.
Safewards was presented at a recent Consumer and Carers Quarterly Forum in the ACT. The forum was supported by the ACT Mental Health Consumer Network, Mental Health Community Coalition, Carers ACT and the Public Advocate and Children and Young People Commissioner, ACT Health Directorate Chief Nursing and Midwifery Office and Office of Mental Health and Wellbeing.
You can watch the full Safewards presentation.