” The drive to improve the safety and security of the remote health workforce became an industry wide priority following the tragic murder of remote area nurse Gayle Woodford in 2016.
This caused the remote health industry to critically reflect on long held practices health industry to critically reflect on long held practices and challenge its acceptance of the risks that were routinely considered “just part of the job
The goal of theses guidelines is to provide broad statements with examples of activities, which can be implemented by employers, service providers, communities, clinicians, and other stakeholders to establish and maintain safe and effective operating systems in remote health services.”
WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IN REMOTE HEALTH IS AN ONGOING AND ESCALATING CONCERN THAT PRESENTS UNIQUE CHALLENGES NOT FACED IN URBAN AREAS.
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In the 2016 – 2017 financial year, CRANA plus received funding by the Commonwealth Department of Health to undertake a remote health workforce safety and security project.
A diverse representative expert advisory group informed the entire project. The members of this group included a representative from NACCHO (Rob Starling ) see Page 4 for the full list
The completion of phase one of the project saw the release of the National remote Health workforce Safety and Security Report : Literature Review, Consultation, and Survey results in January 2017.
The report included a literature review building on the work of the Working safe in Rural and Remote Australia Project. Additionally, utilising workshops, surveys and social media, CRANAplus undertook a “national conversation” with remote health stakeholders.
This provided an opportunity to seek the views of the workforce, employers, and other stakeholders, and test existing assumptions on the real and perceived issues around safety and security.
The report identified several significant issues :
- The need for employers and staff to conduct hazard identification and risk assessment, event reporting, and workplace review of significant events and near-misses ;
- The need for staff to be accompanied on-call, and at other times when risks are identified ;
- The need for more comprehensive and timely orientation of new staff;
- The need to promote individual resilience and manage the risk of fatigue;
- The need to address high workforce turnover and issues relating to bullying and harassment;
- The need for reliable, accessible transport and emergency after hours communication systems, including monitoring, supported by staff training in equipment use;
- The need to provide access to patient information and data in staff accommodation;
- The need for staff training and practice in communication and de-escalation techniques, to mitigate the risk of conflict leading to violence.
The full report can be accessed on the CRANAplus website www.crana.org.au
Recognising that the safety of staff and services are essential for the effective provision of health services, the guidelines contribute to supporting two significant government initiatives:
The Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act ; and the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (Standard One; Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations).
The goal of theses guidelines is to provide broad statements with examples of activities, which can be implemented by employers, service providers, communities, clinicians, and other stakeholders to establish and maintain safe and effective operating systems in remote health services.
The guidelines identify seven safety and security priority areas, each of which is to be considered through the lense of the individual, the team, the employer, the infrastructure, the environment and the culture and community.
These guidelines provide a structured pathway to identify risk and prioritise areas for improvement. Ultimately, it will be highly valuable to develop agreed national standards for remote health workforce safety and security. Standards will provide clear, measurable expectations on safety and security issues, providing greater impetus to drive reform.
Although developed primarily for small remote towns and communities, these guidelines can be contextualised to any area or industry that requires health service provision in an isolated setting.
HOW TO USE THE GUIDELINES
- The infographic provides a summary overview of the guidelines and lenses.
- The summary table assists to identify the complexity of issues, roles and responsibilities contributing to remote health workforce safety and security.
- More detailed information, is provided under the heading of Guidelines, Aims and Activities. This information is provided as a guide only. Activities should be developed according to the context of individual services and communities, and with the contribution of local stakeholders.
- The final component of this document provides activities on how different remote health stakeholders can contribute to safety and security issues.
Download a PDF copy of Guidelines HERE :