There’s no excuse for abuse

Date: 16/01/2023 | Category: News 2023

The Trust is reminding people that there’s no excuse for abusive behaviour towards its staff in a new campaign.

The Trust has launched the campaign to urge people using local health and care services to treat staff with kindness and respect. The ‘There’s No Excuse’ campaign highlights the impact that abusive behaviour can have on NHS staff during the course of their work.

The campaign has been launched following concerns that aggressive behaviour is increasing in our hospitals and community services.

In 2022, 173 physical assaults and 219 incidents of verbal abuse were reported by staff. These figures are significantly up on the previous year when 85 physical assaults and 159 incidents of verbal abuse were reported.

Karen Bonner, Chief Nurse at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We fully understand the anxieties, stress, and worry caused by delays to appointments following the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented levels of demand we’re currently experiencing across our services.

“Staff working in our hospitals, community settings or visiting patients in their own homes are also experiencing high levels of stress and worry. My request of you is to treat our staff with respect – they are working incredibly hard in challenging circumstances to keep you, your family members, and their colleagues safe after an extremely difficult couple of years.

“Everyone should be entitled to work in an environment where they feel safe and free from aggression or abuse. The vast majority of those who are treated by our staff are grateful for the care they receive, and we’re grateful to them for continuing to give staff the respect and kindness they deserve.

“However, we have seen a worrying increase in aggression and abuse towards our health and care staff in a range of settings. This is completely unacceptable, and the campaign message is very clear that it will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

“Abuse takes many forms – it doesn’t have to be physical violence. Our staff are facing high levels of racist and sexist verbal abuse which can take a huge toll on someone’s wellbeing. In time, this kind of abuse wears people down and can lead to increased sickness and absence and in some cases valuable healthcare professionals leave their jobs for good.”

Paul Tovey, Chair of Staff Side at the Trust, said: “I fully support this campaign. The ‘No Excuse’ message is essential for our staff – no-one should go to work and be expected to face aggressive or abusive behaviour. Everyone at the Trust has the right to feel safe, considered, and listened to.”

Bridget O’Kelly, Chief People Officer at the Trust, said: “Our staff are absolutely incredible, consistently putting the needs of our patients before their own; and every member of our dedicated and hardworking workforce has the fundamental right to be safe at work and it is our priority to eliminate violence and abuse.”

The Trust has recently updated its security policy to strengthen the measures in place to protect not only healthcare and support staff but all other patients and visitors who access Trust services who expect to be treated in a safe and respectful environment. There’s no excuse for violent or abusive behaviour and the Trust is very clear that such behaviour will not be tolerated.