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No excuse for abuse

Why would anyone want to be verbally or physically abusive towards healthcare staff, coming to their aid? Yet violence and aggression is happening in hospitals. At University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB), one of the largest teaching hospital trusts in England, the security management specialists with West Midlands Police have launched a poster campaign.

A set of designs show volunteers made up to look like staff in a range of roles with cuts and bruises. The aim of the graphics; to make an impact and tug at the conscience. Such posters and banners are across the Trust’s hospital entrances, waiting areas and wards, to give the message that violent and abusive behaviour is not an acceptable part of the job for staff. Instead the Trust asks for people to support those individuals there to give care. As well as being morally unacceptable, violent and aggressive behaviour is an offence and can lead to prosecution.

UHB Lead Security Management Specialist, Phil Chambers said: “While we understand that coming to hospital can be a stressful experience, staff are here to help patients and we want to ensure that people feel safe while in the hospital environment. Through this campaign we aim to send a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable. We also want to encourage staff to speak up so such incidents do not go unreported. These posters reinforce that message that people who abuse hospital staff face a firm response, including prosecution.”

West Midlands Police PC Luke Cooper said: “Hospital staff work extremely hard to help people, yet sadly are exposed to physical and verbal abuse at the hands of patients and visitors. We wanted to support this campaign by working in partnership with UHB to reinforce the message that staff, patients and visitors have the right to feel safe at all times. We are committed to dealing with violence and all other forms of antisocial behaviour on hospital sites.”

The ‘No excuse for abuse’ campaign includes:

• Posters and banners in hospitals and community sites with realistic looking images depicting nurses, sisters, health care assistant and radiologists, who have been attacked or abused;
• An updated policy on managing challenging behaviour by patients and visitors, and updated training for staff; and
• Refreshed communication of the yellow and red card system for repeat offenders of violent and abusive behaviour.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) includes Heartlands Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Solihull Hospital and Community Services, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Chest Clinic; and smaller satellite units.


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