Gayle Woodford was a primary health care nurse who was working in a remote outback area in South Australia and her employer was not required to ensure nurses were accompanied on after hours call outs. In 2016 when responding to a person who needed help Gayle was unaccompanied, being alone she was murdered.
Gayle Woodford’s tragic death highlighted the safety issues that outback nurses face with working in remote areas as they were not protected by risk assessments and even when concerns were raised, health and safety in the workplace was not seen.
The changes that health practitioners called for in South Australia as remote health workers was for staff to be accompanied on all call outs along with upgrades to clinics, upgrades to accommodation and personal alarms to be made available.
Gayle’s Law was passed in South Australia in 2017, it requires nurses not to attend after-hours or unscheduled callouts alone and to be accompanied with a second responder. This is to prevent nurses being put in unsafe situations and offers some protection (Source – https://www.sahealth.sa.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/public+content/sa+health+internet/about+us/legislation/gayles+law ).
Support Resources –
- Nurse & Midwife Support– 1800 667 877 https://www.nmsupport.org.au/accessing-support/telephone-support
- Lifeline– 13 11 14 https://www.lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue- 1300 224636 https://www.beyondblue.org.au
- Headspace- 1800 650 890 www.headspace.org.au
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