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Letters from trust prompt patients to apologise for abusive behaviour

The patients had been warned they may be refused treatment after aggression towards staff
Abusive patients

The patients had been warned they may be refused treatment after aggression towards hospital staff

Abusive patients have apologised to nurses after receiving letters warning they could be banned from receiving future treatment, a trust has reported.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust workforce director Nicole Cornelius said the letters were sent to people responsible for abusive incidents as part of a crackdown on violence in the workplace.

On a number of occasions, people have come back to apologise for their behaviour and that has helped our nurses and other staff, she said.

Letters to patients are part of campaign to protect staff

When there is an apology, this gives reassurance that the person is less likely to do it again.'

The letters are just one of several measures in place for the past year to help tackle violence

The patients had been warned they may be refused treatment after aggression towards hospital staff 


Picture: iStock

Abusive patients have apologised to nurses after receiving letters warning they could be banned from receiving future treatment, a trust has reported.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust workforce director Nicole Cornelius said the letters were sent to people responsible for abusive incidents as part of a crackdown on violence in the workplace.

‘On a number of occasions, people have come back to apologise for their behaviour and that has helped our nurses and other staff,’ she said.

Letters to patients are part of campaign to protect staff

‘When there is an apology, this gives reassurance that the person is less likely to do it again.'

The letters are just one of several measures in place for the past year to help tackle violence and aggression towards staff, as part of the trust's new Respect and Protect campaign.


The trust's workforce director Nicole Cornelius
says violent incidents are under-reported

Another is the introduction of 12 touch-screen terminals in key areas of the hospital, so staff can record details of assaults and verbal aggression as soon as they occur.

Ms Cornelius said this had led to an increase in reporting of aggressive incidents, when compared with the standard incident reporting Datix system that is still also in use.

Touch-screen system enables prompt reporting of aggressive incidents

In January, 58 incidents of violence and aggression were recorded on the Datix system at the trust, while 127 were logged on the touch-screen system.

While many of these are related to people with mental health issues or clinical conditions such as dementia, the touch-screen system has also been used to record more verbal abuse and ‘unpleasantness’ directed at staff.

Ms Cornelius added: ‘We believe there is significant under-reporting of violent incidents and we are always looking for new ways to drive reporting up.

‘Attitudes across the emergency service are that violence is part of the job and it is really hard to undo that culture.’

Chief executive Mark Cubbon recently highlighted that on average there are 43 assaults or aggressive incidents against staff at the trust’s Queen Alexandra Hospital each week, which often result in sickness absence, putting additional strain on front-line staff.


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