Nurse safety ignored in Torres Strait

24 Oct 2008 3:37 PMJann Stuckey

The safety of nurses and other health workers in the Torres Strait had been completely ignored by the State government as highlighted by the latest frightening incident on Boigu Island.

LNP Torres Strait Island Community Development spokeswoman Jann Stuckey said the past week had seen three terrified nurses flee the Torres Strait fearing for their lives.

Ms Stuckey said the Bligh government and the Health Minister had promised improved security after the alleged rape of a nurse on Mabuiag Island in February, but it now seemed little had improved.

“The Minister promised to improve nurse safety, but we’re still having nurses threatened with personal violence and even death,” Ms Stuckey said.

“I understand three nurses and a child have been airlifted from Torres Strait islands in the past week and health services on Boigu, a hotspot for HIV-infected villagers, have been shutdown indefinitely.”

Ms Stuckey, a former nurse, said the Bligh government and Minister Robertson had ignored the warnings of an internal government report for
16 months which listed the safety risks at Mabuiag Island as “extreme”
prior to the alleged rape in February.

“It seems the Bligh government has learned nothing and turned a deaf ear to the urgent issue of safety for public servants in these regions.
Nurses quite rightly, still fear for their lives in these island communities even though the government has a zero tolerance policy for violence.

“It’s about time the Bligh government stated taking this issue seriously.

“The very basics of public order are missing and the government is simply reacting to continued violence against nurses, instead of properly policing unacceptable behaviour in these communities in the first place.”

Media contact: Jann Stuckey 0439 755 919