27 September 2010
A new policy to protect staff and patients from the behaviour of patients and clients who choose to be verbally or physically abusive has been put in place at the Health and Social Services Department (HSSD).
The Management of Violence and Aggression Policy follows on from the department's work in this important area, which includes prominent posters displayed throughout the department, and is to be implemented immediately.
People who choose to exhibit intimidating behaviour or commit assaults will now be managed according to the policy. This details 4 levels of actions available depending on the type and nature of assault. The perpetrator may be given anything from a verbal or written warning regarding their behaviour, up to formal exclusion to enter the premises without prior agreement except to receive emergency treatment. It is stressed that all individual cases will be treated on their merits.
Chief Nurse and Head of Governance, Rose Naylor, said “The vast majority of patients and clients who use our services at HSSD behave entirely appropriately towards our staff. However, it is a sad reality that there are a small number of people who choose to behave badly, or exhibit an attitude which is intimidating and frightening towards staff. This is not fair on our staff who, just by doing their jobs, could be exposed to risk or danger, through no fault of their own.
''We do recognise that some people get upset or anxious about treatment and this is understandable. We also know that some of our patients and clients are not always able to control or manage their behaviour; this can be due to the nature of their illness or as a result of medication. This is an entirely different situation and one which we deal with sympathetically.
“This policy is intended to support staff working across the department and address those situations where the patient, client or visitor is aware of their actions and to get across the clear message that this is simply not acceptable. Consistent rude and abusive behaviour is not tolerated in other workplaces, and it will not be within our services. Our staff and those in our care have a right to feel safe and be safe. This has to be a priority for us.”