Health Minister unveils new measures to better protect NHS staff

Health Minister unveils new measures to better protect NHS staff

The NHS will face violence against its employees of "zero tolerance," the health minister has announced.

Matt Hancock will envisage a series of measures to protect workers in England, with nearly one out of every eight experienced last year.

He said it had been "unacceptable" when health workers were subjected to violence and aggression when he introduced the first strategy to combat violence in the western United States.

It describes how NHS staff can be better protected against intentional attacks and abuse of patients, their families and the public.

A new partnership between the NHS, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service will lead to the rapid prosecution of offenders under the zero tolerance approach, said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will review the trusts based on their plans to reduce violence against employees. Those who need further help to protect their employees are identified.

The department said that in the last survey of NHS staff last year, 15% of employees were affected by violence – the highest in five years.

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Matt Hancock will speak in front of the Royal College of Nursing (Kirsty O & # 39; Connor / PA)

In a speech to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Mr. Hancock will outline how the NHS will work with the criminal justice system to ensure that victims are supported to provide evidence and prosecution in the fastest and most seamless way possible ,

Staff are better trained to deal with a violent situation, including difficult circumstances involving people with dementia or mental health problems.

Victims will also receive immediate psychological support, he adds.

A new system is being introduced to allow employees to record attacks or other instances of abuse or harassment.

Trusts are expected to investigate every incident to ensure that lessons are learned and the staff is protected in the future.

National data on reported violence against personnel are also analyzed so that health officials can identify which personnel are most vulnerable to attacks.

"The NHS staff dedicate their lives to protecting and caring for us in times of greatest need and for being exposed to either aggression or violence, is totally unacceptable," said Hancock.

"I've made it my personal mission to make sure the NHS staff feel safe and secure at work. The new strategy to reduce violence will be central to this. "

In some cases, prosecution may not be appropriate. For example, when attacks are made by patients with dementia, brain injuries or mental health problems.

The DHSC said that de-escalation and conflict resolution training will be evaluated to ensure that it is up-to-date, effective, and, where appropriate, that improvements be made.

The plans follow the Law on Assaults on Relief (Crime), which has required that the maximum penalty for attacking an emergency worker be doubled from six months to one year.

The head of the ambulance association welcomed action against the "violence that many NHS staff, including ambulance crews, endure on a daily basis".

"It is a sad fact that almost none of the perpetrators will be sentenced to prison terms if they are prosecuted for attacking our employees," said Martin Flaherty, managing director of the association.

We therefore hope that the closer cooperation between the NHS, the police and the CPS, which the Secretary of State has described today, will help address this situation directly, ideally with the court that causes the courts to convict the guilty parties attacking and threatening our employees, prosecuting these individuals to the full extent of the law and in fact imposing prison sentences on them. "

Sara Gorton, health union chief Unison, said: "No one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work – especially if he only wants to help people.

"Anyone who threatens or abuses NHS employees should be prosecuted under the new Act on the Protection of Health Professionals."

Kim Sunley, National Officer of the Royal College of Nursing, said, "Nurses and caregivers understand that their role is not risk-free. For many, however, it seems that the danger of physical violence is an everyday reality.

"These actions are another way to change that forever by increasing employers' accountability for the safety of their employees and ensuring that those who deliberately attack healthcare workers feel the full force of the law."

Dr. Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, welcomed the initiative and said, "Patients – and their families – who come to the emergency room often experience the worst day of their lives. worried, confused and often frustrated.

"That can be understandable. What is unacceptable is when it goes into violence.

"Employees always strive to provide the best possible care in a pressured environment – it is always wrong to resist those who are trying to help."

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