Abusive Behaviour Policy

Everyone has a duty to behave in an acceptable and appropriate manner. Staff have a right to work, as patients have a right to be treated, in an environment that is properly safe and secure. The following baseline definition of a non-physical assault was introduced in November 2003 as part of Secretary of State Directions on work to tackle violence against staff and professionals who work in the NHS and replaced any other definitions previously in use across the NHS.

 “The use of inappropriate words or behaviour causing distress and/or constituting harassment”.

Examples of the types of behaviour covered by this policy are summarised below, although the list is not exhaustive:

  •  Offensive language, verbal abuse and swearing which prevents staff from doing their job or makes them feel unsafe
  • Loud and intrusive conversation
  • Unwanted or abusive remarks
  • Negative, malicious or stereotypical comments
  • Deliberate invasion of personal space
  • Brandishing of objects or weapons
  • Near misses i.e. unsuccessful physical assaults
  • Offensive gestures
  • Threats or risk of serious injury to a member of staff, fellow patients or visitors
  • Bullying, victimisation or intimidation
  • Stalking
  • Spitting
  • Alcohol or drug fuelled abuse
  • Any of the above, which is linked to destruction of or damage to property

Such behaviour can be either in person, by telephone, letter or e-mail or other form of communication, for example: graffiti on NHS property.

A range of measures can be taken, depending on the severity of the non-physical assault, which may assist in the management of unacceptable behaviour by seeking to reduce the risks and demonstrate acceptable standards of behaviour; these may include:

  1. Verbal warnings
  2. Acknowledgement of Responsibilities Agreements (ARA)
  3. Written warnings
  4. Withholding treatment
  5. Civil injunctions and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (A.S.B.O)
  6. Criminal prosecution

The NHS operate a zero-tolerance policy with regard to violence and abuse and the practice has the right to remove violent patients from the list with immediate effect in order to safeguard practice staff, patients and other persons. Violence in this context includes actual or threatened physical violence or verbal abuse which leads to fear for a person’s safety.

All staff in this Practice have the right to do their work in an environment free from violent, threatening or abusive behaviour and everything will be done to protect this right. If you do not respect the rights of our staff we may choose to inform the police and make arrangements for you to be removed from our medical list.