Page 5100 - Week 13 - Thursday, 29 November 2018

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the level required. Indeed, we will continue to recruit firefighters and resource them, unlike those opposite.

Mental health—staff safety

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Minister for Mental Health. I refer to a letter from the ACT Secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation about assaults in mental health facilities. It states:

Nurses injured or witness to reported assaults state that post-incident follow-up and care has been inadequate.

Nurses state that they face the decision to either physically withdraw from the area, which leaves other consumers vulnerable to assault, or remain to protect consumers and other staff and risk being assaulted.

Has the post-incident follow-up and care provided to nursing staff in mental health been inadequate, and if so, why?

MR RATTENBURY: As I have said before in this place, no-one should be assaulted at work, and it distresses me every time one of our staff is assaulted. In terms of post-incident follow-up, protocols are in place. There is, of course, the immediate response of staff seeking medical treatment and they are given the opportunity to attend the emergency department if necessary or other options. Staff may go home as a result of an injury and staff will be offered leave for the period it takes them to recover from an injury.

At the end of that process staff are then offered a choice. Some staff will not want to come back to working in the particular facility in which they were assaulted and staff are given that choice. They can be re-allocated to another part of ACT Health either for a temporary period or permanently. I cannot give an answer for every case, but of the cases that I have been briefed on in recent times I think every staff member I have read about has opted to return to the location in which they were working.

In saying that I do not back away from the fact that these are serious issues being raised by the Nursing and Midwifery Federation. On that basis the new CEO of Canberra Health Services is meeting with the secretary of the Nursing and Midwifery Federation at least once a fortnight as we work through some of these issues.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, what have you done to ensure the security of staff, patients and other people in the mental health facility since this issue was raised by the ANMF?

MR RATTENBURY: Mrs Dunne has asked me this question in various forms on a number of occasions now, and I have outlined to her the steps that I have taken. That has included work that is being done on the nurse safety strategy, being led by the Chief Nurse. I have previously told this chamber that I have specifically asked the Chief Nurse to focus on issues that are unique to the mental health space, to recognise the particular issues that afflict mental health staff; the particular risks that are there

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