Stopping Bullying In Our Hospitals In Its Tracks

  • Minister for Health

The Andrews Labor Government is taking action to drive down bullying and harassment in Victoria’s public hospitals with a new awareness campaign.

Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos today launched the Know Better, Be Better campaign, which is aimed at giving leaders in Victorian public hospitals and healthcare workers the skills and resources they need to stop bullying in its tracks and address it when it occurs.

Developed in partnership with WorkSafe, the campaign will ensure healthcare workers understand what constitutes bullying and harassment.

This follows a change to the definition of bullying in occupational health and safety guides. Workplace bullying will now be defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee that creates a risk to their health and safety.

The campaign will also encourage workers to speak up and leaders to take action to prevent and respond to bullying, harassment and inappropriate behaviours where they occur.

In a Victorian first, the Labor Government has appointed two independent facilitators in two metropolitan hospitals and four regional hospitals to provide safe and confidential support for workers who wish to raise concerns without fear of reprisal. Hospitals participating include:

  • Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • Royal Women’s Hospital
  • Albury-Wodonga Health
  • Corryong Health
  • Northeast Health Wangaratta
  • Tallangatta Health

The independent facilitator trial will run until June 2020 with a full evaluation to be undertaken on completion.

Bullying and harassment in Victoria’s health services must never be tolerated, and it’s up to all of us to call it out. In 2018, one in six Victorian healthcare workers reported experiencing bullying behaviour. One in 10 healthcare workers reported experiencing sexual harassment.

A toolkit for hospitals with resources such as presentations, animations and social media material will help staff better detect instances of bad behaviour, and encourage people who are victims of bullying to speak up.

It’s all part of the Labor Government’s $3 million investment over two years towards preventing and reducing violence against healthcare workers and stopping workplace bullying in its tracks.

As noted by Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos

“Bullying and harassment has no place in our hospitals – it’s not on and it’s up to all of us to call it out and stamp it out.”

“Ignoring bullying doesn’t fix things – that’s why we’re taking action to make sure our hospitals and health services are safe and welcoming places to work.”

As noted by Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy

“Workplace bullying is unacceptable. It puts individuals, their families, and their colleagues under enormous stress and can cause mental injuries that can take years to recover from – and we want to see an end to it.”

/Public Release. View in full here.