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December 2018

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Ambulance Victoria health and safety director Dean Pattison, operations integration specialist Kerry Power, CEO Associate Professor Tony Walker, people and culture executive director Rebecca Hodges and projects co-ordinator John Reed.

Public sector award for ambulance initiative

Ambulance Victoria’s occupational violence prevention program has won the people and change category of the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management.

The national awards are presented annually by the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA).

They encourage and recognise better practice and innovation across all levels of government in Australia.

They focus on specific initiatives and are based on organisations demonstrating success against four demanding criteria.

Ambulance Victoria established a three-year program including process improvement, culture change and training to address serious occupational violence issues involving paramedics.

An occupational violence policy was developed that clearly articulated a position of zero tolerance to occupational violence against paramedics.

To increase management accountability, investments were made in IT solutions to enhance management oversight of occupational violence incidents.

An occupational violence incident review group (OVIRG) was established to review all reported occupational violence incidents, identify trends and inform the organisation’s response.

This program has resulted in a 49 per cent reduction in assaults on paramedics from 2015/16 to the present even though risk exposure has increased.

It also created a positive change of attitude towards safety from 45 percent in 2015 to 80 per cent in 2017.

A review into scene risk behaviours indicates paramedics are now better at identifying scenes where occupational violence is likely to occur and avoiding assault.