Dementech Limited operates a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy towards aggressive or abusive behaviour. This includes any personal, abusive or threatening comments, bad language, physical contact and aggressive gestures. In keeping with the rest of the NHS, this means that no abuse of doctors or staff is acceptable, whether verbal or physical and any patient behaving in this manner will be removed from the clinic list with immediate effect. In some cases the police will be called.
The Clinic takes it very seriously if a member of staff is treated in an abusive or violent way.
The Clinic supports the government’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign for Health Service Staff. This states that doctors and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused. To successfully provide these services a mutual respect between all the staff and patients has to be in place.
Our Clinic’s staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to all patient’s individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind patients that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time. The staff understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint.
However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in you being removed from the Clinic list and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted.
In order for the clinic to maintain good relations with their patients the clinic would like to ask all its patients to read and take note of the occasional types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable:
- Using bad language or swearing at clinic staff
- Any physical violence towards any member of the Primary Health Care Team, Administrative Team or other patients, such as pushing or shoving
- Verbal abuse towards the staff in any form including verbally insulting the staff
- Racial abuse and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within this clinic
- Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff will not be accepted. Requests will be met wherever possible and explanations given when they cannot
- Causing damage/stealing from the clinic’s premises, staff or patients
- Obtaining drugs and/or medical services fraudulently
We ask you to treat our doctors and their staff courteously at all times.
The Legal Position
As a responsible employer, the clinic has a duty as a provider of healthcare services to protect the health, safety and welfare of staff under the Health & Safety at Work Act. This includes a risk assessment of violence towards staff and taking steps to mitigate this under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Staff members who are victims of violent conduct or assault have the right to sue their employers for compensation if the risk of violence could have been reduced or removed completely, but the employers did not act upon this information.
Examples of security issues:
- Security of premises – incl. storage, “out of hours”
- Cash and staff – storing, handling and transferring
- Security of equipment – medical devices, computers
- Communication of national security alerts
- Information records
- Contingency planning.
- Security of employees
For example, a lone working risk assessment must provide the lone worker full knowledge of the hazards and risks to which he or she is being exposed and what they must need to do will something go wrong. Other responsible persons must know the whereabouts of lone workers and what they are doing;
Violence at Work
The clinic acknowledges that there may be instances where violence and / or aggression forms part of a patient’s illness; in these circumstances, the issue will be discussed with the patient and form part of their care planning.
This information will be recorded in the patient’s medical record and flagged to ensure that members of staff are aware. In addition, where deemed necessary, appropriate support will be put in place, e.g. staff members do not see the patient alone.
Definition of Physical and Verbal Abuse and Violence:
Physical and verbal abuse includes:
- Unreasonable and / or offensive remarks or behaviour / rude gestures / innuendoes
- Sexual and racial harassment
- Threatening behaviour (with or without a weapon)
- Actual physical assault (whether or not it results in actual injury) includes being pushed or shoved as well as being hit, punched or attacked with a weapon, or being intentionally struck with bodily fluids or excrement.
- Attacks on partners, members of staff or the public
- Discrimination of any kind
- Damage to an employee’s or employer’s property
The Clinic supports the Zero Tolerance stance
The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) defines work-related violence as:
“Any incident, in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work”.
Violence and aggression towards a person may also be defined as:
“A physical contact with another person which may or may not result in pain or injury. The contact is uninvited and is an attempt to cause harm, injury or to intimidate. Non-physical aggression includes the use of language which causes offence or threatens the safety of a member of staff”.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the clinic will also undertake the following measures to ensure a safe work environment:
- Carry our risk assessments to assess and review the duties of employees, identifying any “at risk” situations and taking appropriate steps to reduce or remove the risk to employees, particularly if they are working alone.
- Assess and review the layout of the premises to reduce the risk to employees where physically possible.
- Assess and review the provision of personal safety equipment, such as alarms.
- Develop clinic policies, procedures and guidelines for dealing with physical and verbal abuse.
- Provide support and counselling for victims, or refer to suitably qualified health professionals.
- Make employees aware of risks and ensure employee involvement in suitable training courses.
- Record any incidents on a Significant Event form and take any remedial action to ensure similar incidents are prevented in future.
Removal From The Clinic List
The removal of patients from our list is an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-clinic relationship. We value and respect good patient-doctor relationships based on mutual respect and trust. When trust has irretrievably broken down, the clinic will consider all factors before removing a patient from their list, and communicate to them that it is in the patient’s best interest that they should find a new clinic. An exception to this is in the case of immediate removal on the grounds of violence e.g. when the Police are involved.
To avoid any confusion and to help us maintain our level of service, cancellations can be made by phone, email or in person. However, an admin fee of £40 will apply.
If the cancellation is made within 48h or less, an admin fee of £180 will apply. Failure to notify of cancellations and cancelling within 24 hours or less will result in your consultation fee being deemed non-refundable.
Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected] or call 020 3848 4500.