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25th Oct, 2021

Region's healthcare bosses launch 'zero tolerance' campaign against abuse of NHS staff

ABUSE and violence towards NHS staff in Coventry and Warwickshire will not be tolerated – that is the message from the region’s healthcare bosses as a new campaign launches today (Monday October 11).

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust (CWPT) has launched its No Excuse for Abuse campaign in response to concerns raised by staff that they are regularly subjected to unacceptable physical and verbal abuse.

A study published by the British Medical Association (BMA) found that more than half of doctors have recently seen NHS colleagues such as nurses and healthcare assistants being abused or assaulted, and over a third of doctors have experienced verbal abuse, including threats.

CWPT Chief Executive Mel Coombes MBE said: “I want to assure staff that we are listening. We care. And abuse towards staff will not be tolerated.

“No one working on behalf of CWPT should ever feel devalued in their role or because of their race, disability, sexual orientation, beliefs or any aspect of their identity.

“We stand together with our staff against any form of discrimination and abuse – verbal or physical – and will use all powers available to us to protect those who work on behalf of the Trust. Therefore we have, during Hate Crime Awareness Week, launched the No Excuse for Abuse campaign.”

Over the coming months, CWPT will carry out a range of activities with staff, patients, visitors and members of the public to raise awareness of the campaign.

This includes a CWPT staff pledge, where staff can sign up and pledge to recognise the serious impact that violence and abuse has on NHS and care workers, and to report all forms of abuse.

CWPT will also share stories to raise awareness of different types of abuse against staff.

Warwickshire Police has expressed support for the campaign.

The county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “It is simply unacceptable for NHS staff, ambulance workers and others in healthcare settings to face abuse or violence as they go about their work treating patients and saving lives.

“Equally, I know that healthcare workers can also be subjected to prejudicial views or hatred because of their ethnicity, nationality and a range of other factors. Again, this is completely unacceptable and as a society we must call out such behaviour and make it clear that it will not be tolerated.

“The law has been strengthened to protect emergency services workers and those in healthcare from violence and abuse and across all the emergency services there is a united desire to ensure that tough action is taken against anyone who commits any form of abuse or inappropriate behaviour against staff.”

Ch Supt Mike Smith added: “As emergency service workers, we accept we will often be asked to put ourselves in harm’s way to protect others, but this does not mean we ever expect to be assaulted.

“Like everyone else, emergency service workers have a right to work in a safe environment and to return home safe and uninjured at the end of a shift.

“We are pleased to see the launch of this campaign and are fully supportive of our partners in the NHS. Assaults of any nature – whether verbal or physical – against emergency service workers are abhorrent and will not be tolerated. When offences do take place, we will look to use the full force of the law to bring those responsible to justice.”

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