Aggressive patients may face hospital ban

Hospital chiefs in Essex are reinforcing their firm stance against patients who are verbally or physically aggressive towards staff.

Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital, already has a zero tolerance policy on insulting or threatening behaviour towards its staff.

Now, those patients who persist to behave in an anti-social manner face the prospect of being banned from both the Colchester hospitals.

If a patient verbally or physically abuses a member of staff they will be served with a warning letter and if they do it again they will be automatically banned from the hospital for all but life threatening conditions.

Anyone who commits an assault against a staff member will be prosecuted. A number of people who have carried out assaults on staff have recently been successfully prosecuted through the courts.

David Hewitt, the Trust’s Director of Facilities, Planning and Development, said: 'I am sure the majority of the public will support us in taking this firm line against the minority of patients and relatives who use threatening language and behaviour against hospital staff'.

'From now on anybody who acts in an anti-social way will get a warning letter and after that they and their GP will be informed that they will be banned from the hospital unless they have a life threatening condition.

'If anybody physically assaults a member of staff without a mitigating medical condition we will call the police immediately and push for a prosecution, being drunk or angry is no excuse.

'Working in a hospital can be demanding and stressful enough, without having to worry about aggressive behaviour from patients and their relatives.

'The problem is probably worse in the A&E department because of people coming in under the influence of alcohol and drugs, but this policy is relevant across the whole of our hospitals including wards and outpatients.

'Anti-social behaviour is not acceptable in any other public place and a hospital is no different. For our staff to be able to continue to deliver the best care to patients and their relatives, their safety and well being must be assured and we will do everything in our power to protect them.'

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