Health staff at 'serious risk'

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Health staff at 'serious risk'

Post by Paddy on Sat May 28, 2011 9:58 pm

Health staff at 'serious risk'

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/employment/news/article.cfm?c_id=11&objectid=10728754

By David Fisher 5:30 AM Sunday May 29, 2011 copyright NZ Herald – used without permission.

“A whistleblower claims staff and patients at one of New Zealand's busiest mental health units are at "serious risk of harm".

Mental health nurse Lauren Meraw quit Auckland City Hospital's Te Whetu Tawera centre claiming it was too dangerous to work there.

Meraw said there was violent abuse of staff and patients because management didn't like isolating people in the grip of a psychotic episode.
She put her concerns in a letter to the Government, health bosses and the Public Service Association union.
Te Whetu Tawera has been struggling to emerge from a difficult period in which it faced criticism over the handling of patients who took their lives or the life of another.
Matthew Ahlquist was released into the community against advice of frontline staff and later killed Colin Moyle.
The unit was also criticised after patient Shane Fisher took his life while on day release.
Health bosses have denied many of the claims - although the Herald on Sunday has been told many staff privately support Meraw.

But her allegations have exposed a 25 per cent shortfall in mental health nurses at the unit and the use of security guards to support staff under pressure.

Meraw said on most shifts patients threatened to kill her, made sexual remarks and comments "that would not be tolerated in any other workplace".

She had been "scratched, pushed, spat at and kicked" by patients and had seen colleagues "strangled, punched, kicked and bitten".

Meraw said staff were under pressure to reduce "seclusion" rates - the number of patients who are isolated. She said patients who assaulted staff were not secluded, despite nurses urging medical staff to do so.
Hospital bosses dismissed the concerns. In an email to staff on Friday, mental health director Dr Clive Bensemann warned of "unwarranted" criticism in today's story.
He told the Herald on Sunday Meraw was an "inexperienced" worker with a North American background of mental health care that was less effective and used more restrictive practices.
"We don't accept the assertions made here."
Bensemann said nursing vacancies at the unit had been in the "20s" and there were currently 18.5.
Mental health nursing director Anna Schofield said specially-trained security guards were occasionally called on to assist staff and every case of abuse was documented.
A spokesman for Associate Health Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman said Meraw's complaints were being looked into.
A PSA spokeswoman said the union would talk to members at Te Whetu Tawera.”

MY COMMENTS:

A) “…Hospital bosses dismissed the concerns. In an email to staff on Friday, mental health director Dr Clive Bensemann warned of "unwarranted" criticism in today's story.
He told the Herald on Sunday Meraw was an "inexperienced" worker with a North American background of mental health care that was less effective and used more restrictive practices.
"We don't accept the assertions made here."

Perhaps he should remove his cranium from his fundamental orifice, have a look around, acknowledge that things can usually be done better and get working on making it so. Without scape goating a trained and much needed psych nurse.

b) Employing an inexperienced worker with a North American background of mental health care in such an Acute Inpatient setting would suggest AT BEST either desperation on part of management to get any staff; or sheer incompetence in offering and delivering professional development to staff and a ‘don’t you DARE critise ‘us’ stance by those who no longer deal with human beings on a daily basis, week in, month out.

3) This North American ‘background’ in MH care which is of such concern NOW to the employers, but which one assumes was fine on recruitment day, is not supported by say, the Nurses professional registration Council.
See, according to the Online Register of The Nursing Council, this Nurse, is currently Registered in NZ to practice; she has a BScN AND is adjudged as competent to work in both General and Mental Health Nursing.

Which is a heck of a lot more qualifications than many who have to try to help us manage our illnesses, have.

Speaking of which, I wonder what ‘special training’ security guards receive before they are occasionally called on to assist staff in a MH setting there.

I think that this Nurse has on the face of it, been treated bloody poorly by her employer and its management people, and if this is how an Institution treats its employees, to whom it has very high levels of duty of care etc, then what on earth can ‘we’ expect as patients of Institutions? A freakn’ night club Door-Bouncer recently Licenced as a security guard patrolling the wards and doors?

Good Luck, Lady. Do the bastards, for constructive dismissal, amongst other things.

Paddy.







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Paddy
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Re: Health staff at 'serious risk'

Post by DocLazy on Mon May 30, 2011 3:09 am

Another case of management having no clue what so ever.

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Location : Auckland
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