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Urgent proactive approach towards assaults upon nurses needed, says NZNO

New Zealand Nurses Organisation media release, 3 December 2018

The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) says Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) needs to get serious about enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to violence in the workplace if the now regular assaults against nurses are to stop.

NZNO Organiser John Miller said it is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to feel scared to go to work because they could be stabbed, burned, beaten, punched or strangled.

“Surely this is going to negatively affect the quality of the care they can give.

“We have been speaking out about the safety of nurses and other staff in the workplace for years. NZNO has also been working for some time to support security, safety and good practice environments for it members.

“This has included participating on working groups that have made recommendations to CDHB around issues such as employing security guards and urgently funding and pursuing improved practice environments to make inpatient settings safer.”

He said NZNO is also calling on WorkSafe to step up and take a proactive approach to violence in the workplace for all health workers. 

“Where is WorkSafe’s involvement in all this? We are aware that WorkSafe has had very few serious assault reports from CDHB’s Specialist Mental Health Services, but there have been more than enough publically reported incidents that should be triggering ‘WorkSafe’s involvement.”

“A much more serious approach is needed to make workplaces safer for staff – and it would be a major omission if this were not a main focus of the Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction.”

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