Addict attacks taking toll on health staff
Some government workers in Victoria say the drug ice has made their jobs near-impossibly difficult.
Staff at the Royal Melbourne Hospital say the routinely deal with patients who are “off their faces” on the drug, and can have all kinds of uncontrolled, unpredictable and dangerous outbursts.
The hospital says it is considering installing CCTV and using a sniffer dog to help protect staff.
Melbourne Health board chairman Robert Doyle says extreme security measures may be needed at the secure psychiatric facility at Broadmeadows, part of the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Speaking to Fairfax Radio, Mr Doyle called ice an “absolutely terrifying” drug.
“These are some of the most vulnerable people, these are very seriously ill people, and add ice to that mix and it is just explosive,” he said.
“We're thinking about CCTV, which is directly in there to protect our people.
“And number two, we've even floated the idea of having a sniffer dog, our own sniffer dog, because drugs, like prisons, drugs get in through visitations, through all sorts of reasons.
“I hate that thought, that in a hospital facility that we might need something like a sniffer dog, but that's the effect of this drug on very, very ill people,” he said.
A study by Melbourne University recently showed that around one in three mental health nurses were physically assaulted in the past year, making it Victoria’s most dangerous profession.
An Australian Medical Association spokesperson says that while hospital staff and patients are too regularly confronted with aggressive ice addicts, they need more security staff before CCTV.
He argued that while CCTV helps identify perpetrators after an event, having security staff on hand could prevent dangerous incidents ever taking place.