Bullying and Harassment widespread within Victoria's Health Services

14 March 2018

The Health Workers Unions is concerned about the mental and physical health of our members. According to the second annual national statement issued by Safe Work Australia titled “Psychosocial Health & Safety & Bullying in Australian Workplaces 2015 (based on accepted workers compensation claims)” Hospitals and Other Health Care Services, such as aged and disability services, have the highest frequency rates of harassment and/or bullying compared to other industries.

These findings were supported by the Victorian Auditor-General’s Investigation and Report into Bullying and Harassment in the Health Sector March 2016.  In his report, the Auditor general made the following comment “I found that health sector agencies are failing to respond effectively to bullying and harassment as a serious OH&S risk. They are not demonstrating adequate leadership on these issues, which is illustrated by the fact that the audited agencies do not understand the extent, causes or impact of bullying and harassment in their respective organisations, even when such issues have resulted in significant media attention and reputational damage.

These shocking revelations were also supported by the Quarterly Newsletter published by The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators. In this article titled “The Impact of Bullying in Health Care” they state that the health care profession has one of the highest levels of bullying in the workplace.

They go on to report something that we all know!  Being bullied at work has ramifications that cannot be understated!  It impacts the individual victim’s health and their immediate family, it negatively effects workplace morale and can undermine an organisation’s productivity and places a significant burden on the national economy.

These findings highlight once more why adequate staffing and funding for the health sector is so vital. Our hardworking members deserve a health system that enables them to meet the needs of patients without putting their own health and wellbeing at risk. Workplace bullying and harassment can only be alleviated when our health system is adequately funded and has in place the right policies to stamp out what appears to be a common practice.