Bendigo Health psychiatric services to receive four extra full-time equivalent security guards

BENDIGO Health’s psychiatric division will receive an additional four full-time equivalent security guards as part of a $6.7 million state government announcement.

The health service was one of 30 across the state to receive funding for a total of 123 full-time security guards.

State government figures show 4.42 FTE security guard roles will be created at Bendigo Health’s Vahland House – the old psychiatric building.

The transfer of patients from Vahland House to the new hospital was delayed six months in January because of projected staff shortages.

Bendigo Health now expects the transfer to be complete by the end of the year.

A spokesperson for Bendigo Health said Vahland House was the last psychiatric unit to be transferred to the new hospital.

“We welcome the additional security funding which was provided to increase security at Vahland House,” the spokesperson said.

“Currently three psychiatric inpatient units are open at the new hospital, adult acute, older persons and the new parent infant unit.

“The new purpose-built psychiatry department within the hospital co-locates these units for the first time.

“Being altogether has been of great benefit to our staff who are able to collaborate with one another and gain experience in different areas of psychiatry if they wish.”

The security guards will de-escalate violent and aggressive situations, escort staff to cars and respond to duress alarms.

Rochester and Elmore District Health received funding for a night patrol service, while Castlemaine Health was given funding for 2.5 full-time equivalent security guards.

Echuca Regional Health will receive an additional 0.8 full-time security guards, and Kyabram District Health Service and Cohuna District Hospital will receive funding “as required” for security services.

The funding will play a key role in the rollout of the standardised Code Grey policy in Victoria.

The Australian-first policy was introduced to guide hospitals in responding to and reducing violence against healthcare staff, patients and visitors.

Up to 95 per cent of healthcare workers experience physical or verbal attacks.

Health minister Jill Hennessy said all healthcare staff had the right to a safe workplace.

“There is just no excuse whatsoever for aggression towards staff in our hospitals. Like us all, our dedicated doctors and nurses deserve to feel safe at work,” she said.

“Sadly, too often health workers are confronted with abuse and threats, all while doing their best caring for us at our most vulnerable.”