An independent facilitator has been funded by the state government to oversee an anti-bullying push in North East Victorian health services.
Albury Wodonga Health is leading colleagues in Corryong, Tallangatta and Wangaratta to implement the 'Know Better, Be Better' campaign developed in partnership with WorkSafe.
AWH director of people, workforce and support Virginia Boyd said the facilitator had been funded for 12 months to support workers raising concerns.
"Kim Ledger from Safer Care Victoria started a couple weeks ago and has already met with some staff," she said.
"It's about creating a safe environment for people to speak up and if there's anything she's concerned about she will report that, but keep things confidential."
Last year, one in six Victorian healthcare workers reported experiencing bullying behaviour, and 23 per cent of respondents to an internal AWH survey reported they had experienced bullying.
Ms Boyd said the way issues had been handled had improved in the last four years.
"The first thing we had to do was listen to anyone who hadn't been heard, take their complaint seriously, and make the behaviour stop," she said.
"That brought a level of confidence for us to do that again.
"People are reporting more and the prevalence is coming down, but they actually feel confident that if they had to report it, something would be done.
"There's been a real shift because of handling it confidentially and professionally."
AWH put in an expression of interest for the government initiative at the end of last year and is now working through a toolkit.
It's included in a $3 million investment announced last week, which covers the independent facilitator trial, being run at the four North East health services and two city hospitals.
Ms Boyd said there would be increased reporting to the AWH board around bullying, and the well-being team would continue to pull apart inherited behaviours in the workforce.
"It's saying OK, we understand you have been exposed to that - here's what respectful looks like," she said.
"Once you fix that, people see they have accountability.
"We've just recently done some training from a lawyer who deals with bullying and harassment and that was really well-attended."
The ultimate goal is to eradicate bullying in the workplace completely.
"It's a journey, but we've started and I'm really confident, with how much we've dealt with in two-and-a-half years, to know that we take it very seriously and we want our staff to be safe and happy," Ms Boyd said.
Results that have come about from changes in recent years include that reporting of occupational violence and aggression (OVA) has increased.
Ms Boyd said an internal number for reporting incidences had been successful.
"One of the first things we did was revisit our code of conduct and a section in there around what is a respectful workplace," she said.
"It's to make sure people are aware what bullying is and encourage them to say 'Hang on, I'm not comfortable, can you stop?', and that if it doesn't stop, there's procedures to make it stop."
The health service's staff acted as a models for posters raising awareness of violence in the workplace, bearing the hotline for staff to report to, which are now being put up around the Albury campus.
"We weren't necessarily getting the appropriate funding for our behavioural assessment rooms, because we weren't reporting it properly," Ms Boyd said.
"When we asked why (staff weren't reporting violence), it got down to that people were saying they were too busy.
"So we asked what the quickest way was they could report an OVA incident, and now have a hotline that my staff check.
"We have committees and OVA working groups, and we're working with unions and managers so there's more reporting and follow-up.
"We've now tripled our reporting."
The service is upping their training around occupational violence and bullying and harassment in the workplace.
"We're one of the largest employers, so we have an onus of responsibility to our community to keep addressing it," Ms Boyd said.