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Zero tolerance to hospital violence

Created on 04/12/2017 @ 10:00
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The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) has issued a warning to those who behave anti-socially at its two acute hospitals – it will not be tolerated.

Warning letters are always sent to those found intentionally acting in anti-socially way at the Princess Royal Hospital (PRH), the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) or any of the Trust’s other sites, while those being physically abusive could face prosecution.

The Trust continuously works and supports local police with ongoing investigations and prosecutions into anti-social and/or aggressive behaviour. Two recent prosecutions include criminal damage at the PRH, and drunk and disorderly at the RSH.

The letters, which are signed by the Chief Executive, are issued to those who have been verbally abusive or physically aggressive to staff in the course of their duty.

They warn the recipients that they could have non-life threatening or routine treatment withheld if they repeat their behaviour. In 2016/2017 50 letters were sent and, as a result of those, no-one who returned for treatment repeated their behaviour.

Since 2009, the number of intentional incidents – verbal and physical – at the two hospitals has decreased. Intentional incidents are where the perpetrator was not deemed to have any reasonable excuse for their behaviour, such as an underlying medical condition or illness, or reaction to a prescribed treatment.

The Trust says it does not see misuse of alcohol or drugs as excuses for bad behaviour, as in law they are seen as aggravating factors not mitigating factors.

The number of intentional incidents of anti-social behaviour in 2016/2017 was recorded at 109 – 45 at the RSH and 64 at PRH. Of those, 31 involved physical contact (which includes spitting) and 78 were non-physical (verbal abuse, threatening and intimidating behaviour, racial abuse and abusive phone calls).

Despite seeing fewer incidents, the Trust remains committed in its efforts to ensure the safety of its staff working in its hospitals and this week launches a zero tolerance campaign to send out the message that any anti-social behaviour will be dealt with by way of warning letter, or the Trust will support prosecution.

Simon Wright, Chief Executive, said: “Our staff deserve to be able to go about their duties without fear of aggression – verbal or physical. Anyone who behaves anti-socially should be warned that it will not be tolerated. It could result in prosecution, or the risk of non-urgent treatment being stopped.”

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