News from our partners: SaTH leading the way in protecting NHS staff against violence and aggression
News from our partners Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust
Shropshire’s two acute hospitals are leading the way in protecting staff from violence and aggression.
This week Matt Hancock, MP, the Secretary of State for Health, set out new measures to protect NHS staff to try to reduce the thousands of assaults on them that take place every year.
Measures in the NHS Violence Reduction Strategy include:
- Offenders being prosecuted quickly as a result of new partnership between the NHS, police and Crown Prosecution Service
- The Care Quality Commission (CQC) scrutinising NHS trusts on quality of plans to reduce violence against staff
- Better training for staff to deal with violent situations, including challenging circumstances involving patients with dementia or mental health issues
- A new system so that staff can record assaults more easily.
According to the latest NHS Staff Survey, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) performs better than the national average both in the percentage of staff experiencing physical violence or harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public.*
The Security Team at SaTH, which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, was this year shortlisted in the Trust’s annual Values in Practice (VIP) Awards, having picked up a monthly VIP Award in October 2017.
SaTH operates a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour and takes a number of steps to address offenders. Warning letters are always sent to those found intentionally acting in an anti-social way, 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.
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.
The warning letters are just one of the initiatives that SaTH has in place to curb anti-social behaviour. Other actions include:
- Body worn video cameras used by security staff, which record acts or threats of violence or aggression; any intimidating or unreasonable behaviour; acts or threats of criminal behaviour including actual or attempted vandalism or criminal damage – and acts of verbal or racial abuse or anti-social behaviour
- Security teams on duty 24/7 at both hospitals
- Lone worker pagers
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.
Julia Clarke, Director of Corporate Governance at SaTH, said:
“All NHS 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.”
Jon Simpson, Trust Security Manager, said:
“The Trust is proactive when it comes to the safety of staff. We were the first in the West Midlands to use body worn cameras to help collect information for police, and these have been successful. The Trust’s policy of sending letters to individuals who have been verbally abusive at our hospitals is also working.
“Whilst decreases in the number of reported incidents is welcome, we recognise that the risk of adverse or unwelcome behaviour will always be present. Where this does occur, we have demonstrated that we are in a strong position to control and reduce its impact and seek some form of sanction or redress.
“The message is simple. Anti-social behaviour – whether verbal or physical – will not be tolerated. And we will continue to remain proactive in our efforts to keep staff, and patients safe.”
- *NHS Staff Survey 2017: Percentage of staff experiencing physical violence from patients, relatives or the public in last 12 months: Trust score – 13%; national average for acute trusts – 15%
- Percentage of staff experiencing harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public in last 12 months: Trust score – 26%; national average – 28%
- Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust is the main provider of acute hospital care for almost 500,000 people from Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales. Patients come to us from Telford, Shrewsbury, Ludlow, Oswestry, Bridgnorth, Whitchurch, Newtown and Welshpool in Powys.
- The Trust continues to work with its partners in health and social care in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales to develop patient-focused services that meet the needs of our communities.
- If you have any feedback about local healthcare, independent support and signposting is available from Healthwatch Shropshire, Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin and Powys Community Health Council (CHC):
- Healthwatch Shropshire: 01743 237884 or email the team via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin: 01952 739540 or email email@example.com
- Powys CHC: 01686 627632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org