Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 5 May 2022) . . Page.. 1246 ..
I urge Minister Davidson to reflect on 28 April, being the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, and plead with her on behalf of Dhulwa nurses, to take action now—not hide behind an inquiry—to keep Dhulwa nurses safe.
MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health, Minister for Mental Health and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (11.06), by leave: I move:
(1) Omit paragraphs (1) (a) – (e) and substitute:
“(a) on 5 April, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) called for an inquiry into the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit;
(b) on 2 May 2022, the ACT Government committed to an inquiry into the legislative, clinical and governance framework to ensure the Dhulwa Mental Health Unit operates under best practice standards;
(c) that the ACT Government is working collaboratively with the ANMF to finalise the terms of reference for the inquiry and appoint a suitably qualified and independent Chair”;
(2) Omit paragraph (2) and substitute:
“(d) the ACT Government is committed to providing exceptional healthcare for all Canberrans when they need it;
(e) the ACT Government is equally committed to ensuring all health workers have a safe workplace and are supported through effective measures to prevent and respond to occupational violence;
(f) Dhulwa is a secure mental health facility that may accommodate patients with very complex needs who may present a risk to public safety and cannot be cared for in any other setting in the Territory; and
(g) the ACT Government has listened to the concerns of staff and the ANMF and demonstrated its commitment to exceptional health services, as well as the safety and wellbeing of staff, by establishing an inquiry;”
(3) Omit paragraph (3) and substitute:
“(2) supports the inquiry into the operation of Dhulwa; and
(3) defers a decision on the referral of the matter of Dhulwa’s operation to the Standing Committee on Health and Community Wellbeing, until such time that the final report of the inquiry is published.”
Mental health nursing is a highly rewarding, although sometimes challenging, profession. I am grateful every day for the dedication and commitment of our clinical staff, and I know that mental health nurses are committed to providing the best possible care to the people in their care. This includes taking a holistic approach and including the person and significant others in their treatment planning.
When a person becomes acutely unwell from mental illness, they may perceive their surroundings differently and may act out of character. Mental health professionals are trained in how to identify changes in people’s behaviour and use de-escalation skills to help manage the situation. But despite expertise in this area, not all behaviours are predictable and occupational violence incidents may occur in mental health settings.