Big safety win at Campbelltown Hospital Mental Health
Mental health nurse Mark Hardacre lauds the incredible work of the Campbelltown Hospital Mental Health branch in securing safer working conditions for staff.
NSWNMA members at the Campbelltown Hospital Mental Health Branch have had a major safety issue win at the Birunji Acute Mental Health Unit, which involved the Association, SafeWork and the committed determination of the staff at the unit.
In August 1999, an aggressive patient destroyed the protective barrier around the main access door to the nurses’ station. This removal now allowed patients to directly approach the main door and presented a real safety risk to staff who opened the door to deal directly with patients. Despite the easy solution of replacing the barrier, management chose to ignore the requests of the members and refused to replace it.
Negotiations continued with management, who stated that it was more therapeutic to allow patients to have direct access to staff with the barrier gone. However, members were concerned was that this easier access also allowed patients to assault staff.
Despite many meetings called by management to assuage staff concerns, members stuck together.
Finally, SafeWork were called in and not only did they acknowledge the safety concerns raised by the staff, they were also concerned over the poor working conditions at the ward.
As a result of SafeWork’s intervention, the ward’s nurses’ station has also been upgraded to have a window through which patients can now freely communicate with staff without exposing the nursing staff to a possible physical assault.
This is a major safety win for Campbelltown Hospital Mental Health Staff!