Oueensland Health issued with safety breach

April 30, 2008

On April 2, the Queensland industrial relations departments' Workplace Health and Safety agency issued a breach notice against the state government's Queensland Health (QH) department for providing unsafe accommodation to nurses working on the Torres Strait islands.

The April 25 Brisbane Courier Mail reported that the breach notice was issued after QH admitted ignoring several damning safety reports prior to the alleged rape of a nurse on Mabuiag Island on February 5.

Nurses left their posts on outer islands to attend an April 2 hearing before the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission on Thursday Island. They returned to work following the hearing, subject to a two-week trial of an agreement between QH and the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) that two persons would attend all call out/emergency situations.

The government is reported to have undertaken urgent work to upgrade security on nurses' accommodation on the outer Torres Strait islands.

Meanwhile, on April 22, the QNU issued a warning that the state's hospitals are facing a massive shortfall of nurses. The union says higher salaries are needed to stop nursing school graduates taking jobs overseas and to attract overseas nurses to Australia.

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