'It does shake people up' - abuse and violence against staff at Rugby's St Cross is on the rise

The trust which runs St Cross has joined with the police to launch a new campaign, urging the public to treat NHS staff with kindness and respect

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The Trust which runs Rugby's St Cross has launched a 'No Excuse For Abuse' campaign aimed at tackling the rising levels of abuse of staff at both St Cross and UHCW.

Cases of aggression and violence have risen since 2020, prompting the UHCW Trust to join forces with the police to urge people to treat staff with respect and kindness at all times and remind members of the public that we have a zero tolerance approach to abuse.

And earlier today, October 5, the supervisor of St Cross' phlebotomy department told the Advertiser of the abuse she and her team have been enduring at the hands of a minority of patients.

She said: "Examples vary from someone simply raising their voice, to name calling and swearing.

"Some people will throw things around and try to break doors - we do often have to call security.

"It does shake people up, but we have a really good team and we really round each other.

"Most patients are lovely, and for every person who loses their temper there are many who will see it and say 'I'm sorry they behaved like that'.

"Things have got worse in the last two years, and particularly with the measures that have been in place to protect people from getting infected.

"These measures mean we have less capacity, and people find that frustrating.

"But we are only following the protocols set out to keep people safe, and we will always do everything we can to help."

UHCW has a strict zero-tolerance policy against anybody who is violent, aggressive or who threatens its staff while they are at work.

Staff are encouraged to report all incidents of abuse when they happen so that immediate and appropriate action can be taken.

The campaign follows the launch of body-worn cameras in the Emergency Department at University Hospital, Coventry earlier this year to help deter attendees from being aggressive and help identify and prosecute any offenders.

Professor Andy Hardy, chief executive Officer at UHCW NHS Trust, said: “Our staff are tirelessly working to care for people in need during what continues to be an incredibly challenging year.

"I know the vast majority of patients and families are appreciative of their efforts, but some can be abusive and intimidating.

"This is an ongoing issue but has got worse since the start of the pandemic.

"My message is clear: we will not tolerate any violence, abusive behaviour or intimidation towards our staff. Please be kind and understanding to those working in our hospitals and community settings.”

Dame Stella Manzie, chair at UHCW NHS Trust, added: “No health worker should feel undermined or devalued for trying to help others or because of their race, disability, sexual orientation, beliefs or transgender identity.

"We are united in our response to patients who either reject care from a member of our staff because of their own prejudices or subject our colleagues to verbal or physical abuse.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with all our colleagues and will use all means possible to protect them and every mechanism at our disposal including legal options.”

For more information on the campaign, see www.uhcw.nhs.uk or follow the Trust at www.facebook.com/NHSUHCW/