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Australia: Remote area nurses in NT to be accompanied on house calls by Idowu Olabode : December 06, 2016, 11:18:13 AM
Remote nurses attending after-hours call-outs will soon be accompanied by a trusted local community member to increase their safety following attacks on health workers, the Northern Territory Health Department said.

The Government is implementing all 14 recommendations from a review of remote area nurse safety, which was released today.

"The murder of remote area nurse Gayle Woodford in South Australia last year raised serious national concerns," Health Minister Natasha Fyles said.



Ensuring all remote health professionals attending after hours emergency call-outs are accompanied by a second responder was one of several high priority recommendations, Ms Fyles said, as well as the immediate updating of existing programs to include mandatory safety, aggression minimisation and de-escalation training and procedures.

The Government will also prioritise the-establishment of a pool of experienced ongoing tenured remote nurses to provide backfill so that a second nurse is available in the community.

"Adopting the recommendations will improve safety for remote area nurses and acknowledge the important part that Indigenous community members have to play in delivering and improving health services," Ms Fyles said.

However, government-run health services will need to find money within their existing budgets to pay for the community member to attend call-outs, the review found.

"It is acknowledged that this recommendation will have resource implications, particularly for the smaller communities in Central Australia," the review states.

The document also recommended the fixing of health clinic infrastructure and equipment, including that all vehicles be equipped with GPS tracking devices and "high quality beam torches".

Health services are also being ask to make sure all doors, security screens, lighting and locks are repaired on health buildings in communities, and to ensure that duress alarms and satellite phones are working.

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Northern Territory branch secretary Yvonne Falckh welcomed the recommendations, and said having monitoring devices in remote area nurses' vehicles and having two people attend call-outs were key concerns for the union.

"We wanted two people to be going together to provide support and that is what is going to happen," she said.

Work is starting "immediately" to develop an action plan, with a progress report due in March, the Government said.

Review triggered by the killing of Gayle Woodford in APY Lands


The review was commissioned after the death of Ms Woodford, 56, in the small community of Fregon in South Australia's APY Lands in March.

Dudley David Davey, 35, is charged with her murder and will appear in Port Augusta Magistrates Court on December 19.

Then in April in the remote NT community of Wadeye, a nurse was attacked while performing an afternoon house call.

Police said a man punched and kicked the 54-year-old woman to the ground, and continued attacking her even after she fell off the verandah until another resident intervened.

Edmund Tcherna has been remanded in custody over the incident and is listed to appear in the Supreme Court later this month.

In the Kimberley, a nurse was punched during a fight between patients in August, and a Queensland nurse has reported feeling "terrified", isolated and under pressure working alone.

WA nurse Kristina Midolo resigned from her position after becoming increasingly worried about her safety following Ms Woodford's death, which she said "shattered" her and left her feeling "extremely vulnerable and extremely frightened".

Source :ABC News

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