10-point plan to end violence and aggression
The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (Victorian Branch) is the largest union in Australia with over 84,000 members in Victoria. Over the last 10 years, occupational violence and aggression (OVA) has increased; in fact, a Monash University survey showed nearly 70% ANMF (Victorian Branch) members had experienced violence or aggression in the workplace in the past year, with a quarter having reported experiencing violence or aggression on a regular basis. Identifying a lack of a systematic approach to prevent and address OVA, the ANMF developed a 10-point plan to end violence and aggression in health services, which is now a requirement for all public health services in Victoria under the Public Sector Enterprise Agreement 2016 -2020. The ANMF also developed a guide for implementation of the 10-point plan to assist healthcare facilities to undertake a gap analysis of their current systems, policies and procedures and identify areas for improvement; and to review their management, occupational health and safety systems and ensure that OVA is appropriately recognised, represented and included as a risk. Using a traffic light system, the 10-point plan outlines the necessary actions required to improve security and implement proactive measures to identify and address risks from OVA.
For the plan to be effective, there was a requirement to ensure that facilities commit to the plan and implement their initiatives. Prior to the Victorian state election in 2014, the document had been delivered to the heads of all the major Victorian political parties and they’d been asked to commit to the plan on behalf of their parties as well as pledge to implement change within a reasonable time frame. The elected government signed up to the plan prior to the election and in 2016 enterprise bargaining agreement made compliance with the plan a requirement for all public health facilities.
The ANMF is working with all public health facilities to help implement the 10-point plan. Many facilities have made improvements to their systems, with many now seeing significant improvements in prevention and management of OVA, but there is still a large number of OVA incidents and some facilities are yet to make the required commitment to addressing this risk. The ANMF will continue to work will all public health facilities to ensure compliance with the plan is met, and with the Government to ensure that healthcare is funded appropriately to enable the plan to be implemented.