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Friday, 24 April 2009

Big Brother is watching – to help protect NHS staff

I know our members will welcome this announcement about a pilot CCTV scheme to deal with violence against NHS staff. Anything that can act as a deterrent is a good thing.

We have reiterated time and again how violence and aggression aimed at doctors and other health workers, just trying to do their job, ie. care for people, should be treated in such an appalling way. This is a growing problem which will not go away overnight. Our members should not have to live in daily fear of being attacked.

As some trusts already have CCTV cameras, why has the WAG not used this as a basis for the pilot, so that we would now be in a position to roll them out to all A&E departments in Wales?

And this is about more than just CCTV.

The BMA, giving evidence to the Audit Committee recently highlighted the following action areas;

• A register of violent patients: If a doctor, nurse or other healthcare personnel can be alerted in advance to the possibility of a patient becoming violent, s/he will be forewarned and no longer placed in a position of vulnerability through lack of relevant information.

• Ownership and Responsibility for staff Safety - ensure that a senior staff member is given the responsibility for staff safety and monitored on that responsibility.

• Training and Communication - ensure that all staff are fully trained, are aware of the mechanisms to report physical or verbal abuse; and that they are encouraged to report incidents.

• Staff Support - ensure that all staff are supported at all times, and continuing support (counselling services for example) are available after the violent incident.

• Public Awareness - ensure that patients and healthcare users know that they are not outside of the law while in contact with healthcare professionals, and that those offenders will be brought to justice.

• Police Liaison - to work in partnership to develop a common understanding of how attackers are dealt with.

This focus on CCTV cameras also shifts the emphasis on to NHS staff in hospitals, when violence is a particular problem for lone workers, ie. GPs and health visitors. Measures need to be taken to enusre their protection too.

1 comment:

  1. I welcome anything that can be done to reduce the risk to staff and other patients due to violence, either verbal or physical, while in A&E departments.

    CCTV cameras are one way to increase the security and safety of our staff, but we must not see them as the "answer" alone.

    The Minister's announcement is a welcome step in stamping out unacceptable behaviour being directed towards staff. It's right though to point out other areas of the NHS where aggressive behaviour is increasing for example, GP practices.


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