The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced a clampdown on violence against healthcare staff.
Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, will reveal details of the first ever NHS violence reduction strategy to protect nursing staff from violence and aggression at work and ensure offenders are punished appropriately.
Mr. Hancock is set to tell staff at the Royal College of Nursing that he backs a “zero tolerance” approach to abuse against them and outline how the NHS will work with police and prosecutors to make sure victims are supported to give evidence and achieve swift prosecutions.
He’ll also pledge to provide better training for staff to deal with violent situations, including those involving patients who have dementia or mental health problems.
Violence is unacceptable.
He said; “NHS staff dedicate their lives to protecting and caring for us in our times of greatest need and for any one of them to be subject to aggression or violence is completely unacceptable,” said Hancock.
“I have made it my personal mission to ensure NHS staff feel safe and secure at work and the new violence reduction strategy will be a key strand of that.”
“We will not shy away from the issue. We want to empower staff and give them greater confidence to report violence, knowing that they will see meaningful action from trusts and a consistent prosecution approach from the judicial system.”
Official figures show that over 15% of NHS staff have experienced physical violence from patients, or their families, during the past year.
Physical violence is a daily reality.
The RCN has campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of the threat of violence nursing staff face, securing key changes to new legislation so that all those who provide NHS-funded care in England and Wales are covered by a law which sets out tougher sentences for those who assault nursing staff.
Kim Sunley, RCN National Officer, said: “Nursing staff understand their roles aren’t risk-free but, to many, it still seems as if the threat of physical violence is a daily reality.
“These measures are another way to change this for good by increasing the accountability of employers for the safety of their staff and ensuring those who wilfully assault health care workers feel the full force of the law.
“Victims of assault at work have their lives turned upside down and it affects their wellbeing, their families and their livelihood. There’s always more we can do to support them.”
Sara Gorton, Head of Health for Unison, added: “No-one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work – especially when all they’re trying to do is help people.
“It is encouraging that the government has listened to unions and agreed to review measures in place to ensure staff safety.
“This includes a more joined up approach between the NHS, police and CPS. Anyone who threatens or abuses NHS staff should be prosecuted under to the new law protecting health care workers.”