NHS leaders across London have joined forces to show solidarity against rising patient violence and aggression towards NHS staff and colleagues.
Jacqueline Totterdell, group chief executive of St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals and Health Group, joined other health leaders in London in signing an open letter thanking the majority of patients who support NHS staff but also pointed out that violence and aggression will not be condoned.
The letter was published on Monday (March 21), the same day that London health leaders met with colleagues from across the city’s NHS for a summit (pictured) to discuss possible causes of the abuse and share preventive measures as well To show solidarity in supporting all those affected.
Jacqueline Totterdell, Group Chief Executive Officer of St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals and Health Group said:
“Everyone deserves to come to work and be treated with dignity and respect and that is why at St George’s, Epsom and St Helier Hospitals we support the message that violence against our staff will not be tolerated.”
“I would like to thank the majority of patients and visitors to our hospitals who are courteous and respectful of the staff. Your kindness is always well received and appreciated. It is the actions of a small but emerging group of people that must be questioned.”
Jane Clegg, NHS Regional Chief Nurse in London, said:
“It is unacceptable that staff and colleagues working in the London NHS are subjected to high levels of violence and aggression from some patients and visitors whilst simply doing their job.
“So I’m delighted that our city’s NHS leaders are collectively sending a strong signal of our commitment to protecting and supporting all those who do so much for us in times of need.”
The latest published results from the NHS Staff Survey (2019-20) show that 16,113 NHS staff in London said they had personally experienced physical violence by patients or members of the public in the workplace at least once in the last 12 months. The number of cases is believed to have increased recently.
It is also believed that many more incidents go unreported because employees either do not fully understand their rights or accept violence and aggression as “part of the job”.
Reports of violence and aggression have come from staff working across London’s NHS, from emergency departments to GP surgeries, including homes and community centres, and across all boroughs.