Latrobe report backed
A review has found Victoria's Latrobe Regional Hospital mental health staff are often under limited supervision.
A series of attacks on staff made headlines for Latrobe Regional Hospital (LRH) last year, including one incident in which a worker was stabbed.
A report triggered by the incidents has reviewed the hospital's workplace culture based on interviews with 77 employees at six locations.
It uncovered allegations of workplace bullying and one allegation of sexual harassment in the hospital's mental health service.
The report makes 13 recommendations to change how the mental health service works, including negotiation training for managers, and lessons on managing workplace change, consultation and the principles of employment in the Victorian Public Sector.
It also calls for safety training for new staff and procedures for escalating, formalising and monitoring employee grievances.
The report says the hospital should manage situations involving repeated or serious inappropriate behaviour, but that a panel of external investigators should be set up to handle serious complaints.
Health and Community Services Union state secretary Paul Healey said the report is in line with the union’s survey of LRH staff, which found “high levels of bullying and distress in the staff”.
“Some of the aspects of the report are concerning, you know, we're concerned about recording interviews and things like that,” Mr Healey told the ABC.
“But what concerned us most is [that] this behaviour has being going on [for] so long. How is it going to change?
“So we want to be really confident that this, [that] this report and [the] people will actually change their behaviour.”
The hospital board's chair Linda McCoy has apologised to workers and pledged to adopt the review's recommendations.
“The issue that we've had is, obviously … for some staff, they weren't confident about [our HR processes],” Ms McCoy said.
“So even if it [a complaint] was escalated, it wasn't acted on. What the report has done for us is actually established why they [staff] haven't been able to talk to us.
“The action plan that we're going to be developing will actually address all of those things.”