HSUWA calls on State Government to address stress in the workplace

Monday 15 Oct 2018

The Health Services Union WA (HSUWA) is calling on the State Government to act on warnings from the  Insurance Commission of WA annual report, in a bid to prevent mental health claims by public sector workers.

A survey of more than 1400 health workers across WA conducted by HSUWA earlier this year, also revealed evidence of stress in the workplace, which included concerns of staff shortages, increased workload and bullying.

More than 60 per cent of the respondents felt they had a high workload with many reporting there was not enough staff to deal with the increased capacity.

HSUWA Secretary Dan Hill said the Insurance Commission of WA’s annual report comes as no surprise following our survey earlier this year.

“The survey found members workplace concerns had worsened since the last survey was conducted in 2010, workers are more stressed, which can lead to serious mental health problems.

“There is currently a lack of resources within WA’s health system and one of the biggest problems we are seeing is shortage in staff.

“Adequate cover is not being provided in place of staff who take annual or sick leave, resulting in added stress and pressure to those who have to take on the extra workload to compensate,” Mr Hill said.

“On the one hand, as reported last week, the State Government is concerned about the level of leave liability and is pressuring staff to take leave, whilst adding to the pressure by not funding leave relief.

The survey also revealed a culture of bullying within WA hospitals and health services with almost half of the respondents agreeing that bullying was a problem within the workplace.

Members reported that bullying and nepotism was rife with many feeling as though they could lose their job or hours if they chose to speak up.

50 per cent of responders said senior managers were the main source of problems.

HSUWA members’ quotes:

“With ongoing redundancies, staff leave and the work pressure increases.” (Anonymous).

“Understaffed and an overload of work due to increase in beds, when two wards were combined the patients doubled but staff numbers remained the same.” (Anonymous).

“Management are not supportive and a major bullying culture exists. Legitimate complaints are hidden and deemed false to fabricate statistics within the hospital.” (Anonymous)

“Bullying in the workplace is at an all-time high. Enough to make staff ill.” (Anonymous)

“Nepotism is a huge problem, especially management. You only have to read social networking posts to see that.” (Anonymous)


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