Hospitals could soon show red card to violent patients

Patients who are persistently violent to health service staff will literally
be shown the red card under proposals announced by the Health Secretary.

Alan Milburn told a conference of NHS staff in Birmingham that hospitals
would be able to ban violent patients for a year.

Offenders will be issued with a yellow card for their first offence as a
warning, followed by the red card and a 12-month ban if they repeat the

Keith Johnston, HR director for North Bristol NHS Trust, welcomed the
initiative. He said, "It may seem like a gimmick but it is based on work
at Bart’s in London where it was successful.

"We need a range of tools we can use to address these issues of
violence in our hospitals. We have to be careful how we implement it, as it
will not be appropriate in all circumstances."

Gary Theobald, HR director of the Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals
NHS Trust, also thought the scheme would protect health service staff, but
stressed that it would only be used as a last resort.

"I hope staff themselves will be reassured and feel a bit more
confident now they know there is a sanction can use," he said.

Milburn, announcing the initiative, said, "I will stand four-square
behind trusts that take tough action to protect staff."

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