Ballarat Health Services violence skyrockets

SOME Ballarat Health Services nurses are “frightened for their lives” as secret figures reveal violent and aggressive incidents at BHS has soared by almost 370 per cent since 2008.

The figures, which were leaked to The Courier, paint a stark picture for the facility which is dealing with more patients and more aggressive behaviour than ever before.

The figures are broken down into both code grey incidents and code black incidents.

Code grey incidents signify an unarmed threat where any person threatens injury to others or to themselves or displays aggressive behaviour including threats, sexually inappropriate behaviour and physical aggression.

Code black incidents signify an armed threat where any person threatens injury to others or to themselves through the use of a weapon.

Victorian secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Lisa Fitzpatrick said she was aware of figures and described them as horrifying.

She went as far to say that some nurses were “frightened for their lives” while caring for the community.

“It is very concerning, no doubt reflecting similar statistics around the state not just major regionals,” she said.

“I think sadly we are becoming an angrier community, a frustrated community.

“We have patients and their family that are frustrated at the time it takes to be cared for.”

This graph shows the increase in total number of Code Grey incidents for BHS since 2008.

Ms Fitzpatrick said code grey incident could be very violent with the only thing differentiating it from the more serious code black was the lack of a weapon.

“I think it deters some nurses from staying in nursing,” she said.

“Hospital management and government have taken their eye off the ball.”

However, she also made it clear that these statistics were only the tip of the ice-berg saying for every incident that was reported there would be just as many that were not.

In 2008 there were a total 53 of these code grey incidents compared 249 in 2013.

There are already 138 of these incidents listed up until May this year meaning if the trend continues it could be much higher again in 2014.

The number of incidents has been growing steadily since 2008.

These are rare and appear to happen rarely at Ballarat facilities with only two listed in 2013.

BHS have been contacted for comment on the issue, however, are yet to respond.

Source: The Courier

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