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Austin Health charged after patient assault on nurse

Austin Health charged after patient assault on nurse

Multiple criminal charges have been laid against Austin Health over an incident in October 2017 in which a patient seriously injured a nurse.

The assault occurred in Austin’s secure extended care unit in Heidelberg and resulted in the nurse requiring hospital treatment for head, face and body injuries.

WorkSafe Victoria has filed three charges under section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 which requires employers to maintain a safe workplace and eliminate risks to employees ‘so far as is reasonably practicable’.

The case will come before the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on 28 August.

This is the fifth time in the past year that charges relating to serious incidents in Melbourne-based hospitals and health services have been brought to court by WorkSafe.

Alfred Health, operator of the Caulfield Hospital, was fined $25,000 in December after pleading guilty to one charge brought under section 21 of the OHS Act. That prosecution emerged after a request by the ANMF (Vic Branch) to take action in relation to an incident three years earlier.

Charges are also being pursued against Monash Health over an incident almost two years ago when a mental health patient smashed through a door dividing Dandenong Hospital’s high- and low-dependency units, severely injuring a nurse. That case is due to come back before the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court on 15 August.

WorkSafe in early July laid charges against Melbourne Health over the death six years ago of an elderly male patient at Broadmeadows Hospital’s mental health unit. An initial hearing is scheduled for 11 September.

In a separate case, WorkSafe has also laid charges against Wyndham Clinic Private Hospital.