From April, new rules will be enforced for NHS staff. Currently staff can refused to treat any non-critical care patients who are verbally or physically aggressive towards them.
However other forms of abuse are have sadly been part of work days for many medical staff. New protections will soon extend to allow staff to refuse non-critical treatment if they encounter any harassment, bullying or discrimination. This includes homophobic, sexist or racist comments.
The Health Secretary has made it clear that being assaulted or abused is not part of the job for NHS staff and it will not be tolerated. Additionally the Department of Health is now forming a joint agreement with the Crown Prosecution Service which will give more powers to investigate and prosecute in cases where members of NHS staff are victims of crime.
It is hoped that this new intervention will boost productivity, morale and help reduce instances where staff feel unsafe and unable to attend work due to fears of abuse, aggression and violence.
I look forward to seeing the rules move forward and for more positive changes to be made to help NHS staff focus on their jobs.