NHS Salford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and all healthcare practices in Salford fully supports the NHS Zero Tolerance Policy. The aim of this policy is to tackle the increasing problem of violence against staff working in the NHS and ensures that doctors and all other staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused.
In line with NHS policy, the CCG and healthcare practices has a zero tolerance approach to aggression, abuse, violence, vexatious or anti-social behaviour towards our staff. Staff managing direct relationships with the public (face-to-face, through emails, letters or telephone calls), are offered training and support to handle aggression, abuse, violence or anti-social behaviour from patients, their relatives or members of the public. Such behaviour or the use of inappropriate words causing distress and/or constituting harassment will not be tolerated, and could lead to the person being removed from the practice list and, in extreme cases, the police will be contacted if an incident is taking place and the patient is posing a threat to staff or other patients.
The video below shows a GP staff's perspective on staff abuse and a day in their daily lives.
Transcript of GPs perspective on staff abuse film
Janine Crowshaw: Some of our patients are very, very pleasant and understanding and sympathetic that, you know, we can't give what we haven't got.
Other patients are less so and they can be quite nasty in their approach with some of our receptionists.
They see it as, who is she to tell me that I don't need to see the doctor, or my problem's not urgent, or why is she asking me this question?
Well the truth as to why they're asking that question is because they've been trained to ask those questions so that they can try and help you.
Of course if you need to be seen we will make sure that's accommodated but quite often, it's not a need for a GP.
There's only a certain level of abuse you can take, and we're just asking for a bit of patience, a bit of understanding that we're not saying no because we want to, it's because we have to.
It's no good saying "well she's paid to take it", she really isn't, and then we wonder why staff are leaving because they can't cope with it anymore.
It's getting hard work, and nobody's afraid of hard work here but it's hard work on top of the abuse you're getting as well. You wonder then why do you do the job?
We'd like to think we treat our patients with respect but I don't think it's too much to ask the same in return.
Hear from Dr Misty Ghangrekar, GP in Salford talking about continuous hard work of all medical staff and that it is not okay to abuse any staff.
Transcript of Zero Tolerance film
Dr Misty Ghangrekar: My name is Misty, I'm a GP in Salford. I've been a GP for six or seven years now.
I realise it's frustrating when you can't get those appointments but we literally cannot do any more at the moment.
General practice at the moment is working, as I said, I'm working almost four hours more than my alloted time that I get in the day on a regular basis. We're all working that hard and so, what we're asking for is just some patience and kindness from patients.
I realise that it's not easy for them and I realise that patients don't get abusive for no reason, but the abuse really has an impact on our mental health as human beings.
As a GP though, I'm only a very small part of what primary care does.
I think the linchpin really of primary care is our reception team and I think it's really important for our patients to understand why they ask the questions that they do, and I think they struggle a lot more with patient abuse.
And again, I realise that patients get abusive when they're struggling with something, but it's not ok.
They're like members of our family and you wouldn't want a member of your family to feel abused or to feel attacked, or to be shouted at.
We try our absolute best to deliver the care that patients need, and we can't do any more at the moment.
Violence prevention and reduction standard
The violence prevention and reduction standard provides a risk-based framework that supports a safe and secure working environment for NHS staff, safeguarding them against abuse, aggression and violence.
Violence against NHS staff: letter to the workforce
The letter to NHS Staff further endorses this policy.
The health and safety of Salford’s health and care employees is of paramount importance to the CCG. In the vast majority of cases, patients and their relatives will be respectful towards those who are providing a service to them but a minority of people are abusive or use threatening behaviour towards staff. The NHS operates a 'zero tolerance' attitude to all forms of abuse therefore such behaviour or the use of inappropriate words causing distress and/or constituting harassment will not be tolerated, and could lead to prosecution.
Whilst it is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of this type of incident, some examples are provided below:
- Offensive language, verbal abuse and swearing
- Racist comments
- Loud and intrusive conversation
- Unwanted or abusive remarks
- Negative, malicious or stereotypical comments
- Brandishing of objects or weapons
- Threats or risk of injury to NHS staff
- Unreasonable behaviour and non-cooperation