Health Services Union WA says all workers deserve to feel safe

Monday 08 Oct 2018

The Health Services Union WA (HSUWA) is calling for better safety conditions for all mental health workers in Western Australia following the tragic death of a woman in Rockingham at the weekend.

HSUWA has been campaigning for better safety conditions for health professionals, particularly in the mental health industry, as it continues to be underfunded and understaffed.

HSUWA Secretary Dan Hill said the health community across WA has been shaken by the news.

“The union extends our deepest sympathies to the woman’s family, friends and colleagues at this very difficult time,” he said.

“Any situation where a worker does not return home safely is unacceptable and needs to be addressed in order for this to never happen again.

“The circumstances of the Rockingham visit are still being investigated but the HSUWA believes all mental health workers making home visits must be accompanied by a second worker.

“If the State Government contracts out to private providers, we say contracts must ensure that they include a full safety audit of the providers delivering that service. There needs to be greater transparency with contracts able to be publicly scrutinised.

“The tragedy in Rockingham also calls in to question the nature of mental health services that are contracted to non-government organisations. Patients with complex mental health diagnosis are best safely managed within government provided services.

“It is a very difficult job in very difficult circumstances and these workers need to be valued more. They deal with severely distressed mental health patients day in and day out, and deserve to return home safe to their families.

“Mental health in WA is underfunded in staffing and facilities and both the State and Commonwealth have a responsibility to combat this,” Mr Hill said.

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