The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has announced a new strategy to better protect NHS staff from violence and abuse.
The NHS Violence Reduction Strategy aims to protect the NHS workforce against deliberate violence and aggression from patients, their families and the public. It will also include improved training for staff to deal with violent situations including specialist circumstances involving patients with dementia or mental illness.
Part of the new strategy is a partnership between the NHS, Police and Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute offenders quickly and the Care Quality Commission will scrutinise violence as part of its inspection regime and identify trusts that need further support.
The new strategy follows a change in the law which will see the maximum prison sentence for assaulting an emergency worker double from six months to a year.
The most recent NHS staff survey showed over 15% of employees have experienced violence from patients, their relatives or the public in the last 12 months – the highest figure for five years.
Sue Covill, director of development and employment at NHS Employers, said:
“The Secretary of State is right to focus on protecting our NHS staff from harm – and right to identify the different causes of violence against staff.
“Employers know that different causes of violence require different solutions – and we know that investment in training and support will make a real difference.
“We look forward to working in partnership with our trade union colleagues through the Social Partnership Forum to develop additional solutions to the different causes of violence to ensure that our staff can feel safe and supported at all times.”
Read the full announcement on the government website.