The Mental Health Minute

Articles and news about mental health issues

Nurses at The Park stop work over lack of security | The Courier-Mail

Wow!  I read the article below and cringed.  As a psychiatric nurse, I can attest that my chosen profession is filled with danger, and everyday I wonder if I will be injured at work.  However, I love my profession and will continue to do it even knowing the potential dangers to my well-being.  That said, I do not ever agree with those who believe that “getting hurt at work by patients is what you are being paid to do” or “you knew what you were getting yourself into so don’t make a big deal of it”.  Getting hurt is not listed on my job description.

After reading this article, I simply have to applaud those nurses for finally standing up to Queensland Health.  They risked their livelihood by doing so, I am sure.

Unfortunately, with all the financial cutbacks being experienced in healthcare right now, mental health is always at the top of the list for decreasing funding.  Not only in psychiatric facilities, like the one in this article, but also in community clinics and outreach programs.

My question to the “powers that be” is–if you won’t deal with the problem of mental illness and its co-morbidity with crime now, when do you think you will?
While you are deciding, my patients are getting sicker and more out of control and my peers and I are being placed in an untenable position every time we show up for work.


Nurses at The Park stop work over lack of security
Article from: The Courier-Mail
October 19, 2009 12:00am

A SAVAGE attack on a psychiatric nurse by a criminally insane inmate has prompted a stop-work meeting by nurses at The Park, the state’s largest mental health facility.

Demi Fernendes required surgery after her cheekbone and eye socket were smashed in an escape attempt by a violent offender last Wednesday.

Two workers who rushed to the nurse’s aid were treated in hospital for less serious wounds.

A nursing union official said the attacker had assaulted staff on at least four previous occasions.

He said there had been seven murder attempts on nurses in the past three years.

One woman’s throat was slashed by an inmate and a male nurse was stabbed with a pen.

Today’s meeting follows warnings in The Courier-Mail on Saturday that faulty security doors opened spontaneously and that surveillance cameras and security lights often malfunctioned or were turned off.

One security breach led to the escape of pedophile rapist Christopher Watkins, who strolled through an open door before scaling a fence.

Officially, Queensland Health says there have been 138 assaults against staff at The Park between July 2006 and July 2009.

Senior staff dispute the figures, saying one violent inmate had alone figured in 200 assaults.

Nurses stressed they would not leave inmates without care during today’s industrial action.

Queensland Nurses Union branch secretary Judith Cooper called the meeting to be held at 1.30pm in a conference room inside the security compound.

A QNU spokesman said: “We are going to talk about repeated attacks on staff and the fears our members have in carrying out their duties. We feel unsafe, especially as there are serious failures in the security system that have not been fixed for more than 10 months.

“We have the right to not work in places where we feel unsafe. That’s in our code.

“He said Queensland Health went to great lengths to keep previous assaults on staff secret.

The Australian Worker’s Union, which covers security guards at The Park, will consider supporting the nurses industrial action.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said “planning is well advanced” for a new high-dependency unit within the security unit at The Park.

Nurses at The Park stop work over lack of security | The Courier-Mail

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October 22, 2009 - Posted by | Mental Health | , , , ,

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