August 22, 2016

Psychiatric hospital staff strike in protest at more than 3 violent attacks every day

Workers from Victoria's Thomas Embling psychiatric hospital are calling for more staff to deal with an increase in the number of assaults at the facility.

A four-hour stop work meeting was held last week, with up to 40 staff protesting outside the office of Mental Health Minister Martin Foley

Martin Foley said the government was in negotiations with the union over new pay and conditions for mental health nurses.

"We recognise that people working in our mental health system do vital work in a difficult environment," he said.

"While there is agreement on a number of issues, we are working through the final points and hope to have a resolution in coming weeks."

The Health and Community Services Union said there had been 468 violent attacks on staff between April and August of this year, equivalent to more than 3 attacks every day. 

Thomas Embling has 120 beds and most patients are transferred from the prison system or ordered by the courts to undergo psychiatric assessment or care.

Union secretary Lloyd Williams said staff have been hit and belted by patients...

"Our members out at Thomas Embling hospital are absolutely fed up with the under resourcing and understaffing at the mental health facility.

"The under resourcing means that they are unable to provide the therapeutic treatments that are needed to be provided for the very unwell people that we support."

Mr Williams said the group was asking for an additional 18 staff to help deal with patients and create a better patient-to-staff ratio.