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Thursday, 2 July 2009

We’ve had the recommendations, now let’s see action on violence and aggression against NHS workers

Away from the ARM briefly and I’m really pleased to come across this story .

I, along with a GP member of the BMA in Wales gave evidence to the Assembly Audit Committee earlier this year, stressing the very points the Audit Committee has made; namely that not enough is being done to tackle this very real, worrying and growing problem for frontline NHS staff. I do fully acknowledge that some progress has been made in recent years, but not nearly enough, particularly when it comes to prosecuting anyone who is verbally or physically abusive to healthcare professionals - this needs to be properly addressed by the new LHBs in Wales - such that they set a clear line in the sand at their inception.

I would be more than happy, as the committee recommends, to work with Welsh Assembly Government to consider options for tough new legislation; and develop further some of the following action areas highlighted:

• A register of violent patients: allowing doctors, nurses and other healthcare personnel to 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 staff are encouraged to report incidents of violence and aggression and that senior staff take responsibility for staff safety and comprehensively monitor it.

• Training and Communication - ensure that all staff are fully trained, are aware of the mechanisms to report physical or verbal abuse; and clear guidelines are promoted to raise awareness with staff - and deter violent and aggressive acts by patients

• Staff Support - ensure that all staff are supported at all times, and continuing support (counselling services for example) are available after the violent incident, including through any legal processes that may be pursued.

And if any of our members reading this have been a victim of violence and aggression at work, please let us know.

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