Zero Tolerance

Introduction

The Partners of Locking Hill Surgery support the government’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign for all our staff and for everyone providing care for our registered patients. Our staff should be able to provide care and treatment to our patients without fear of being attacked or abused. To successfully provide these services it is important that both staff and patients understand their mutual obligations to each other.

The Partners expect all staff working for the practice to be polite, helpful, compassionate and sensitive to our patients’ individual needs and circumstances. We expect them to provide care to everyone registered to the surgery without discrimination, regardless of financial means, religious belief, ethnic background or sexual orientation. Training and development is provided to all staff to help them develop their knowledge, skills and competencies in this area and staff are provided with feedback in response to patient comments, complaints and at appraisal and other meetings.

The Partners respectfully remind patients that providing care can be a complex and sometimes difficult activity and they understand that patients may not always act in a reasonable manner, particularly at times of stress and uncertainty. They will take these factors into consideration when dealing with a complaint made by a member of staff about the conduct of a patient.

However, this does not condone aggressive, violent or abusive behaviour and patients who act in this way may be removed from the practice list and the Police may be involved where an alleged criminal offence has taken place.

In order for the practice to maintain constructive relations with our patients we ask all our patients to read and take note of the types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable in our practice:

The list of examples below is not an exhaustive list.

• Using bad language or swearing at any member of practice staff or other patients
• Using threatening behaviour
• Becoming physically violent towards any member of the team
• Verbal abuse which includes racial abuse or sexual harassment
• Making persistent unrealistic demands on our services that cannot be met, such as making urgent demands to see a certain clinician.
• Causing damage to or stealing from the Practice’s premises, staff or our patients
• Obtaining drugs and/or medical services fraudulently or dishonestly

The Legal Position

As a responsible employer, our Practice has a duty as a provider of NHS healthcare 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.

Removal From The Practice List

The removal of patients from our practice list would be an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-practice relationship. We value and respect good patient-clinician relationships, which are based on mutual respect and trust.

When trust has irretrievably broken down, the practice will consider all factors before removing a patient from the list, and communicate to them that it is in the patient’s best interest that they should find a new practice. An exception to this is in the case of immediate removal on the grounds of violence e.g. when the Police are involved.

Removing other members of the household

Because of the possible need to visit patients at home, it may be necessary to terminate responsibility for other members of the family or the entire household to ensure the safety of practice staff.

The prospect of visiting patients at the residence of a relative who is no longer a patient of the practice, or the risk of being regularly confronted by the removed patient, may make it difficult for the practice to continue to look after the whole family. This is more likely where the removed patient has been violent or displayed threatening behaviour, and keeping the other family members could put doctors or their staff at risk.

Communication to patients

This policy will be communicated to our patients in a number of ways. It will be available on the practice website and reference will be made to it in the patient handbook and our complaints procedure. Zero Tolerance Posters have been produced for all NHS premises and the poster is displayed in our waiting room and reception areas.