Barts Health has launched a new campaign to help reduce violence and aggression and create a safer environment in its hospitals.
As a leader in violence reduction, the Trust is taking a different approach that focuses on understanding that violent and aggressive behaviour can stem from trauma and complex issues.
In recent years, abuse has been on the rise. According to the recent NHS staff survey, 15 per cent of Barts Health employees said they were victims of physical violence in the previous 12 months. Overall, 30 per cent said they were at the receiving end of harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, their relatives, or members of the public.
Central to the campaign is a short film called Hidden. The film explores the stories behind acts of violence and aggression and the power of empathy to understand that these behaviours are not always a personal issue against us. The film is inspired by a true story and was made following employee and patient focus groups.
While recognising that the way we react can influence the situation, experiencing these behaviours is never ok. As part of the campaign, the Trust has launched a new poster design to encourage everyone to take a moment and think about what others may be going through.
The posters feature real people and their personal stories, including Faiza Sharif, a trauma ward manager at The Royal London Hospital: “As a ward leader, facing these incidents is quite unsettling and the ward atmosphere becomes tense. The abuse isn’t fair on my team, but I also must think about the patients. As a team we try and understand the behaviour, agree an approach and seek support as needed from our security colleagues and partners.”
In addition, a new policy has been introduced, safety intervention training is offered to employees, psychological support has increased, and body worn cameras are being used at The Royal London and Newham hospitals.
Caroline Alexander, group chief nurse at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We are committed to keeping our people safe so they can continue providing compassionate care without fear of abuse or violence from patients, colleagues or members of the public.”
“We want to achieve a culture where it is not accepted as part of the job, but where teams work collaboratively to mitigate or prevent risks of violence in a compassionate way.”