A Hawke's Bay mental health nurse is recovering after she was choked unconscious by a patient last month.

Hawke's Bay Today understands the nurse, who works on the mental health ward at Hawke's Bay Hospital, was injured by a patient on November 18.

A Hawke's Bay District Health Board spokeswoman said they had launched an investigation into how the event occurred, and notified police.

"The staff member sustained an injury, received prompt treatment and is now recovering well at home."


The spokesperson declined to comment further.

Executive Director of Provider Services Colin Hutchison said his focus was on making sure the support for both the staff member and patient was in place.

"Our team has met with our colleague, patient and family on a number of occasions, since the incident.

"We are pleased to report that the staff member is recovering and the patient is continuing to receive appropriate care."

Issues similar to this one have been hitting the headlines recently.

On Sunday, a nurse at Christchurch's Hillmorton Hospital was stabbed, just days after another nurse had boiling water poured over her at the same facility.

The stabbing incident led to the arrest of a 42-year-old man who was charged with injuring with intent to injure.

He was due to appear in the Christchurch District Court today.


It is understood police have yet to lay any charges in relation to the boiling water incident.


The NZ Nurses Organisation said the cases highlighted the need for the Canterbury District Health Board to get serious about enforcing a zero-tolerance approach to violence in the workplace.

NZNO organiser, John Miller, said it was unacceptable for anyone to feel scared to go to work because they could get stabbed, burned, beaten, punched or strangled.

"Surely this is going to negatively affect the quality of the care they can give.

"We have been speaking out about the safety of nurses and other staff in the workplace for years,'' he said.

"NZNO has also been working for some time to support security, safety and good practice environments for its members at CDHB.''

Miller said part of the work done had included working groups that have made recommendations to that particular district health board; such as employing security guards and urgently funding and pursuing improved practice environments to make inpatient settings safer.

Miller said their group was also calling on WorkSafe to "step up'' and to take an urgent proactive approach to violence in the workplace for all health workers.

A health sector worker, who did not wish to be named, said it was time incidents like this were talked about.

The person said the potential for "any sort of assault is always there" and something needed to be done.

"These things can happen, but often they just come out of nowhere."

From January to July this year, there were 62 cases of physical and verbal abuse of Hawke's Bay DHB staff reported, and more than half of those (36) were directed at registered nurses.