Campaign looks to cut down on abuse of staff

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Milton Keynes Community Health Services is launching a campaign to remind people who use its services that it does not tolerate abuse of its staff.

The campaign will see posters displayed at all of MKCHS’ premises reminding service users that our staff are here to help and not to be abused.

The latest NHS staff survey, published in March, showed that eight per cent of staff had experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or the public in 2011. This compared to a national average of three per cent for community health trusts’ staff. One reason for this may be that MKCHS is also responsible for mental health services, unlike other community health trusts.

However, staff did feel that the organisation took effective action towards violence. This performance measure was above the national average for all community trusts in the staff survey.

Many of the staff work with vulnerable service users who may feel very anxious and as a caring organisation staff do support them as best they can.

Cathy Walker is the managing director of Milton Keynes Community Health Services. She said: “We recognise that people who use our services are vulnerable and often distressed. This distress can sometimes result in physical or verbal aggression towards our staff. We will not, however, tolerate abusive behaviour from people who are able to control their actions.”

Two service users have been prosecuted for assaulting MKCHS staff in the last 12 months.

Milton Keynes Community Health Services employs a local security management specialist who works with NHS Protect. NHS Protect is a national body leading on work to identify and tackle crime across the health service. The aim is to protect NHS staff and resources from activities that would otherwise undermine their effectiveness and their ability to meet the needs of patients and professionals. Ultimately, this helps to ensure the proper use of valuable NHS resources and a safer, more secure environment in which to deliver and receive care.