An updated agreement entitled ‘Obligatory Responses to Violence in Healthcare’ with regards to violence and aggression towards NHS Wales staff, has been launched today (Wednesday, 21 November 2018).
The Obligatory Responses to Violence in Healthcare document between NHS Wales, the Police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), updated from a previous agreement in terms of criminal procedure and sentencing legislation, now includes references to the assaults against Emergency Workers Act 2018, which increases the penalties available to the courts, recognises the aggravating features of such assaults and has been shortened to make it digestible with operational guidance. The document also contains fully revised appendices and will be hosted by NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP).
Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething said: “We all deserve to feel safe and supported in our working environments and our hardworking staff should not have to feel fear and apprehension about attending work. This is not a privilege; it is a fundamental right. With this in mind, there is a real sense that NHS Wales staff are front and centre within the ‘Obligatory Reponses to Violence in Healthcare’ agreement. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Anti-Violence Collaborative for their immense efforts to bring this agreement to fruition.”
All parties to this agreement will encourage individual Police services, CPS areas and NHS bodies to seek the strongest possible action in appropriate cases. All NHS staff are also strongly encouraged to actively report violent incidents at all times.
Dr Andrew Goodall, Director General of Health and Social Services/Chief Executive, NHS Wales: “NHS victims are expressed as central to this document and in addition, the name ‘Obligatory Responses to Violence in Healthcare’ has been deliberately adopted to confirm the intent of this agreement. This agreement also recognises that staff should feel safe and secure in their working environment. To ensure this is the case, this document also encourages incident reporting and that the reporting of violent incidents is worthwhile and that violence is never accepted as part of the job.”
Dr David Bailey, Chair of BMA’s Welsh Council said: “BMA Cymru Wales welcomes this important document. Everybody has the right to feel safe and secure at work and it is especially important that assaults on NHS staff, who are working in pressurized environments to the best of their ability, receive as much support as possible when they are deliberately assaulted – be it physically or verbally. This document, alongside the Assaults on Emergency Workers Act 2018, will provide the necessary support to NHS staff who are victims of deliberate verbal of physical assaults at work and ensure those who attack staff deliberately face the full force of the law.”
Andrew Hynes, NHS Wales Anti Violence Collaborative Chair and Senior Solicitor, Legal & Risk Services, NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership: “I am delighted to launch the ‘Obligatory Reponses to Violence in Healthcare’ document in partnership with our key stakeholders. It fully sets out the responsibilities of partners when dealing with violent or aggressive incidents relating to NHS staff, improves the reporting of violent incidents and strengthens the investigation and prosecution process by improving the quality and timeliness of shared information. It will also help to improve victim and witness care and confidence and raises the issues of violence and aggression against NHS staff and the action that will be taken by all parties.”
Mark Jones, North Wales Police Federation Branch Secretary said: “The fact that nurses, doctors, paramedics and other medical professionals are being subjected to violent behaviour which trying to help others is simply deplorable. Those who attack our healthcare colleagues should face the full force of the law and this new agreement will make sure that every opportunity is exploited to get justice for victims of violence whilst in work. The agreement fits in with the Police Federation campaign, ‘Protect the Protectors’, and the new ‘Assault on Emergency Workers Act’ which enables Courts to hand out tougher sentences.”