Violence and deficits on the rise in Victorian hospitals

On the last day of the last sitting week for the year, the Andrews Labor Government has tabled 213 reports, among them a number of Health Service Annual Reports in another cynical attempt to hide Victoria’s healthcare crisis under Labor.

Annual reports for Victoria’s hospitals show a concerning increase in occupational violence and bulging deficits due to COVID-19. 

Most Major Metropolitan Health Services saw increases in occupational violence, especially Northern Health, Eastern Health and St Vincent’s – which saw increases of 50 per cent, 37 per cent and 37 per cent respectively.

Table 1: No. of occupational violence incidents reported at Major Metropolitan Health Services in 2018-19 and 2019-20 Annual Reports

2018-192019-20% Increase
Alfred Health4735169%
Austin Health947126233%
Barwon Health1233803-35%
Eastern Health731104944%
Melbourne Health21231160-45%
Mercy Hospitals Victoria Ltd46764037%
Monash Health126213305%
Northern Health40560650%
Peninsula Health887115931%
St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne48166137%
The Royal Children’s Hospital10679-25%
Western Health30138127%

Melbourne Health deserves to be commended for substantially decreasing incidents of occupational violence over the past 12 months. However, excluding Melbourne Health’s remarkable work, the remaining hospitals combined saw an additional 1,193 incidents or a 16 per cent increase. 

Key regional hospitals remained relatively stable, however a few hospitals saw particularly large increases. Albury Wodonga almost doubled the number of incidents to 460 in 2019-20, Goulburn Valley saw a 50 per cent increase to 253, Western District saw a 16 per cent increase to 72, and Bendigo a 12 per cent increase to 491.

This is particularly concerning given one of the Government’s specific priorities for 2019-20 was “addressing occupational violence”

Ambulance Victoria employees were also the victim of increasing incidents of occupational violence, paramedics reported a 7 per cent increase to 696 incidents, a 14 per cent increase of two years. A rapid rise in the average cost of a WorkCover claim, up 42 per cent in two years, suggests an increasing severity in types of injuries for paramedics.

A number of hospitals also posted large deficits due to COVID-19, including Western Health which saw an operating loss of $20.3 million and Peninsula Health which lost $12.4 million. Other hospitals that saw losses include Eastern with a loss of $1.2 million, Albury Wodonga $3.5 million loss, Bendigo $2.0 million loss, Goulburn Valley $2.6 million loss, West Gippsland $1.8 million loss and Wimmera $1.5 million loss.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Health, Georgie Crozier:

“No Victorian should have to go to work in fear of being abused and it is clear the Andrews Labor Government has no plan to protect our frontline health workers.

“The Andrews Labor Government is failing to protect Victorian doctors, nurses and hospital staff.”

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