NHS protection schemes must look at reasons for violence

TUC’s
Wales branch says a Welsh Assembly Government scheme to protect NHS staff from
violence, ‘should be more than self defence classes and tissues’.

David
Jenkins, Wales TUC General Secretary said he generally welcomed an announcement
by the WAG Minister for Health, Jane Hutt, that health authorities must be operating
schemes to cope with disruptive members of the public by March 2003, but said
the reasons behind the violence must also be looked at.

"Violence
against staff in Wales has been the unacceptable face of public service for a
number of years, and the Wales TUC has been lobbying both the Welsh Assembly
Government and employers to draw up protection policies, especially in the
NHS," he said.

"Any
policy should include a rounded risk assessment, taking into account how and
why flashpoints occur and how they can be avoided. This should be more than
self defence classes and tissues, and include how staff shortages, long waits
for patients and their families and unwelcoming environments can lead to
violent flashpoints.

"Doctors
and nurses may get the headlines, but paramedics, ancillary staff and
volunteers have all been assaulted on duty. No member of the healthcare team
wants to see hospitals turned into fortresses because they recognise that
families are often put into very stressful situations, but they do have a right
to care for and save lives free from assault."

By Quentin Reade

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