Church Road Surgery

28 Church Road, Aston, Birmingham B6 5UP

Violence & Aggression Policy

CHURCH ROAD SURGERY is committed to taking all reasonable precautions necessary to ensure the health, safety, welfare and well-being of its employees, patients and visitors, and endeavours to ensure that all employees are protected from physical and verbal abuse while they are working.

The Practice acknowledges that there may be instances where violence and / or aggression forms part of a patient’s illness. In these circumstances, the issue will be discussed with the patient and form part of their care planning.

This information will be recorded in the patient’s medical record and flagged to ensure that staff are aware. In addition, where deemed necessary, appropriate support will be put in place, e.g. staff member does not see the patient alone.

Definition of Physical and Verbal Abuse and Violence:

The Practice supports the NHS policy of Zero Tolerance which defines violence as:
"Any incident where staff are abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work, involving an explicit or implicit challenge to their safety, well-being or health"
Violence and aggression towards a person may also be defined as:
"A physical contact with another person which may or may not result in pain or injury. The contact is uninvited and is an attempt to cause harm, injury or to intimidate. Non-physical aggression includes the use of language which causes offence or threatens the safety of a member of staff".
Types of difficult / angry patients
Withdrawn, secretive, vague - limits information as a form of control
Critical – everything is wrong, bad
Intimidating – highly sarcastic, cutting
Sad sack - dwell on all the misfortunes, make others feel guilty.
Anger can be a common and normal reaction
Often due to a loss of control, feelings of powerlessness
Can sometimes be justified – e.g. due to late/missed diagnosis, medical errors, fatalities, poor quality care, inadequate pain control, excessive waiting times, rudeness, etc
How you might recognise when someone is angry:
Raised voice/shouting
Flushed face
Wild gesticulations
Angry words
Rigid body
Dismissive comments
Gritted teeth, clenched jaw


This document sets out our policy for dealing with violence and aggression whether it is committed by or against any patient, visitor, or person working in the practice.

This policy applies throughout the Practice premises, including car parks, grounds and any outbuildings.

Practice Responsibilities

The Practice will seek to ensure that it takes all measures to prevent:
Physical or verbal abuse of its employees, including racial and sexual harassment.
Physical assault on employees by patients and other members of staff.

Both management and employees of the Practice have a responsibility for trying to prevent and control physical and verbal abuse by patients and other members of staff.

The Practice will:
Ensure that Doctors, managers and supervisors are responsible for the adequate supervision of employees to ensure that they do not put themselves at risk of physical and verbal abuse by patients.
Ensure that the contents of this document are brought to the attention of employees under their control.
Undertake suitable and sufficient violence and aggression risk assessments, in those areas for which they are responsible to quantify any risks and to identify proactive measures to eliminate and/or control the risks.
Ensure all frontline employees undertake approved conflict resolution training, and where appropriate, breakaway training.
Ensure new staff members are made aware of this policy as part of their induction.
Ensure victims of physical assault or serious non-physical assault are offered support through occupational health or the employee assistance programme.
Ensure a culture exists in which all violence and aggression incidents are reported in accordance with the practice’s significant event policy.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Practice will also undertake the following measures to ensure a safe work environment:
Carry our risk assessments to assess and review the duties of employees, identifying any "at risk" situations and taking appropriate steps to reduce or remove the risk to employees, particularly if they are working alone.
Assess and review the layout of the premises to reduce the risk to employees where physically possible.
Assess and review the provision of personal safety equipment, such as alarms.
Develop surgery policies, procedures and guidelines for dealing with physical and verbal abuse.
Provide support and counselling for victims, or refer to suitably qualified health professionals.
Make employees aware of risks and ensure employee involvement in suitable training courses.
Record any incidents on a Significant Event Form and take any remedial action to ensure similar incidents are prevented in future.

Employee Responsibilities

At all times, employees should take care to ensure a safe work environment and must consider their own safety and that of their colleagues. They must:
Familiarise themselves with this Policy and conform to the requirements, guidelines and instructions contained within it.
Ensure they are familiar with the location of equipment or devices provided for use in at risk situations (e.g. panic buttons / alarms etc.) and know how to use them.
Be responsible for their own security and the security of others who may be affected by their acts and omissions
Co-operate with managers on security matters and observe all safety rules at all times
Undertake and participate in relevant training made available by the Practice
Promptly report all incidents of physical or verbal abuse (threatened or actual), violence and aggression incidents, hazards or near misses and damage, in accordance with the Practice Significant Event Policy
Record all details of incidents in compliance with Practice procedures.
Contribute towards reviews by doctors, the Practice manager or other supervisor concerning any incidents in which they have been involved.
Suggest precautionary measures involving changes in the layout of the work environment that can reduce risk, such as removal of possible weapons or projectiles (e.g. telephones or letter openers) from patient access.
Make use of any staff support and counselling available through the Practice, if required.
Advise the Practice manager or supervisor of any perceived risks involved in work activities.
Never attempt to physically tackle someone during a violent or aggressive incident.

Practice support for employees subjected to abuse

The Practice takes a serious view of any incidents of physical and verbal abuse against its employees and will support them, if assaulted, threatened or harassed, so long as the employee is correctly carrying out his or her duties.

The first concern of the manager after an incident is to provide appropriate debriefing and counselling for affected employees. Depending on the severity of the incident, this counselling may be undertaken by trained professionals.

The Practice Manager or supervisor will assist victims of violence with the completion of the Significant Event Form and where appropriate will report the incident to the police.

In the event of serious physical and or verbal abuse, patients causing this will be removed from the Practice List.

With this in mind, posters are displayed in the waiting room stating the following Practice policy:
Our Practice staff are here to help you.
Our aim is to be as polite and helpful as possible to all patients.
If you consider that you have been treated unfairly or inappropriately, please ask the reception staff to contact the manager or supervisor, who will be happy to address your concerns.
However, shouting and swearing at Practice staff will not be tolerated under any circumstances and patients who are abusive may be removed from the Practice List.
Please help us to help you.

Dealing with violence in the waiting room:

The essential points when dealing with violence in the waiting room are to:
1. Dial 9 - 999 to call the police.
2. Use the emergency panic alarm button.
3. Work as a team.
4. Do not put yourself or your colleagues in danger.
5. Evacuate other patients from the waiting room.

If an incident occurs

Following an Incident