All patients and staff should be provided with a
safe working environment.
Improving your practice
- All reasonable steps must be taken to ensure a safe, secure
environment and to prevent unauthorised access to the premises and
restricted areas. This includes supplying the use of locks, alarm
systems and duress alarms.
- Keys should be kept in a secure place out of public access and
- Provide a back-to-base alarm system.
- Duress buttons should be available at each desk for staff to
alert other staff within the practice of an urgent situation
threatening patient and/or staff safety. This includes a duress
alarm for each seat at reception, each consulting room desk and at
least one button in the treatment room/nursing area. Ideally, there
should be two duress buttons in the nursing area - with one being a
remote version, to be kept on the staff member and easily
accessible in the case of an emergency. Duress alarms should
connect through to the alarm system, to ensure police are instantly
alerted and able to respond quickly without an additional phone
- An additional, non-powered (analogue) phone line should be
available in the event of an emergency.
- Provide security monitors (preferably digital) in the public
areas of the practice. These can generally act as a deterrent, but
footage may be required by the police after an emergency event such
as a violent episode. The alarm system and duress buttons should be
tested frequently to ensure that they are operating
- Staff should be trained in the handling of an emergency (see Emergency procedures).
- Any patients or visitors exhibiting challenging or disruptive
behaviour should be treated with caution and management notified
immediately. Where necessary, the police should be contacted and
the appropriate emergency procedures followed.
- Any aggressive or violent behaviour should not be
- Medication, prescription stationery and other official
documents, including stationery with letterhead should be
accessible only to authorised personnel. These should be kept out
of public view and access (e.g. in a locked drawer/cupboard).
- Only minimal amounts of cash should be held - other forms of
payment should be encouraged (e.g. EFTPOS, credit card). Cash
should be kept in a locked drawer. Cash should not be handled in
public view and should be banked regularly.
- A keyed safe should be kept in a discreet and locked cabinet
somewhere on the premises. Only senior/leadership staff should be
able to access the safe, which ideally has a mail box-type slot for
any daily takings to be inserted.
- If there are a number of staff on duty, cash taking and balance
records should be kept daily to ensure the integrity of banking
- All confidential staff/contractor records should be kept in a
locked, secure place only accessible by management staff.
- Lockers should be provided for staff for secure storage of
their possessions during working hours.
- All medications, including samples should be kept in a locked
cupboard and only accessed by authorised personnel. Any drug
samples provided to patients should be documented in their medical
- Drugs of dependence must be kept in a separate locked safe,
which is attached to a fixed object (e.g. a wall). All use of drugs
of dependence is to be documented and recorded appropriately as per
standards and regulations.
- Computer security measures must be implemented. (refer to RACGP standards - occupational health and safety)