Nurse violence probe a 'waste'
QUEENSLAND nurses believe a taskforce to investigate violence in hospitals could be a waste of time.
Set up by Queensland Health following increasing attacks against nurses, doctors and administration staff, it will have its first meeting on Friday week.
The taskforce comes after The Sunday Mail revealed hundreds of staff were assaulted, abused and threatened every month and hospitals faced industrial action unless safety was improved.
Queensland Nurses Union secretary Gay Hawksworth said she was concerned the committee would not include nurses employed "on the front line".
"They haven't put on any nurses who work in the areas where they're at risk. That seems a bit strange to me," she said.
"We've got a real concern about the make-up of the committee.
"We don't think it will be effective unless there are nurses on it who are at the coalface and are at risk every time they go to work."
Ms Hawksworth said the union had been asked to nominate one member to the taskforce but had put forward the names of three people, including two organisers with recent nursing experience, in the hope of gaining greater representation. "But we haven't heard anything back yet," she said.
Opposition health spokesman Stuart Copeland questioned whether there was even a need for a taskforce, saying the Government was aware of the problem of inadequate security in hospitals and should "just get in there and fix it".
A spokesman for Health Minister Gordon Nuttall said Queensland Health had decided to give the union three positions on the taskforce and the addition of a clinical nurse would be made at the first meeting. Other members of the group include the department's principal nursing adviser and senior departmental officers.
The spokesman said the committee would look closely at the issue of violence in hospitals and would report to Queensland Health director-general Dr Steve Buckland by the end of the year.