All NHS staff should expect healthy and safe working conditions and an environment free from harassment, bullying or violence. The reality for most NHS staff, however, is that violence and aggression are still commonplace. NHS annual staff surveys consistently show that more than one in ten staff experience physical violence from patients or their families every year.
The problem is particularly difficult to manage in the complex, high pressure environment of A&E. Patients in A&E are often in pain, with accompanying visitors worried about their condition. The pain and worry can alter the behaviour of patients and visitors, perhaps reducing their tolerance levels and making them more likely to behave aggressively.
Improvements in patient experience will not only reduce tensions and non-physical hostility, but prevent their potential escalation into more serious incidents, as aggression is often the consequence of accumulated frustrations. Our solutions focused on how the patient experience could be improved, to create a calmer and more relaxing care environment for everyone.