Over the coming months, the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) will be auditing responsible agencies to determine whether or not they meet their obligations to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees in Victorian public hospitals.
The Department of Health (DH) and Victorian public health services implement policies and initiatives to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees working in Victorian public hospitals. Safer Care Victoria, part of the department, and WorkSafe Victoria (WorkSafe) also promote and provide guidance on supporting healthcare worker wellbeing.
Despite these actions, evidence suggests that clinical staff are working in unsafe environments, and that healthcare has a higher-than-average risk of . A 2020 literature review by the Institute for Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research in partnership with WorkSafe, noted that:
- In Australia, a full third of nurses and midwives worked more than 40 hours a week.
- Australian nurses and midwives experienced medium levels of mental and emotional fatigue across all specialty areas, with up to 20 per cent reporting high levels of burnout.
In its performance audit, VAGO will examine whether the Department of Health and selected Victorian public health services effectively implement their own policies and procedures to support the mental health and wellbeing of employees in Victorian public hospitals.
They propose to scope Austin Health, Barwon Health and Central Gippsland Heath, as well as the Department of Health and WorkSafe into this engagement.
The audit will be conducted throughout 2023 and 2024.