Hospital staff in fear after stabbing, assaults
CHILLING details have emerged of Caboolture Hospital Mental Health Unit staff who are afraid to go to work after a number of assaults by patients.
Documents obtained through a Right to Information (RTI) reveal one security guard was stabbed in the back and hand with a wooden object by a patient who staff had previously raised concerns over.
"*Suppressed identity* voiced concern about the risk the patient poses - it was believed it was only a matter of time until the patient seriously injured or killed someone," the document read.
"They also said the patient regularly 'brags' about staff he has hurt and animals he has killed."
State LNP MP for Pumicestone Simone Wilson requested the RTI from Queensland Health after she was approached by an anonymous staff member who had witnessed the extent of the assaults.
Ms Wilson requested specific data on occupational violence incidents at the Mental Health Unit from January 1, 2019 to the beginning of August.
Quest Community News has seen the documents and can report 18 cases of assault against staff were recorded.
Injuries and incidents range from head knocks, cuts, scratches, punches, blood noses, bites and stabbings.
"Rooms were destroyed by inpatients, objects thrown at staff and broken bed parts were used as weapons with the intent to injure," Ms Wilson said.
"These staff members, including nursing staff, doctors and security officers, are being violently attacked in the course of helping people at their time of greatest need."
Ms Wilson is now calling on State Health Minister Steven Miles to take necessary action to make Caboolture Hospital Mental Health Unit a safer environment to work.
"While (staff) understand the risk involved when dealing with the most unwell people, there should be better protections in place so they don't have to constantly fear for their safety," she said.
"I am calling on the Minister for Health to intervene, it's his job to ensure staff are safe.
"The Minister must urgently review the mental health delivery system at the Caboolture Hospital."
A Metro North Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman responded on behalf of Mr Miles by saying: "Being assaulted is not part of the job description for nurses, doctors, paramedics or health staff and should never happen".
"It's important to remember that many mental health patients are highly vulnerable and receive treatment in our hospitals because they are very unwell. For some patients these psychotic episodes cause fear, paranoia, aggression or violent behaviour.
"Metro North has introduced a range of initiatives to keep staff and patients safe such as increased protective services staff, more CCTV and body worn cameras, de-escalation training for staff, and toolkits for managers to support staff affected by violence.
"We will continue to invest in more staff and services at Caboolture Hospital."
Caboolture Hospital currently has three protective services staff on each shift, including one based in the emergency department.
These staff are trained to de-escalate aggressive patients and visitors.