This health centre is situated in a suburb of a major city, on a large housing estate. The centre is responsible for 16 500 patients in an area where there are high levels of social deprivation. The centre is the base for general practitioners, administrative staff, and other medical specialists, including district nurses, health visitors, chiropodists, and a community psychiatric nurse.
- Rudeness, threats, abuse to receptionists - when patients cannot be seen immediately.
- Rudeness, threats, abuse to medical staff – when the treatment offered does not meet patients' expectations.
- Physical attacks – when dealing with visitors who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or those with mental illness.
Reducing the risks
Training and information
- All staff are made aware of the factors which place them at risk from patients.
- Receptionists are experienced in assessing body language and other cues, to help identify those who may become violent or abusive.
- Individual booths installed in the reception area to ensure client privacy.
- Panic alarms are linked to the local police station.
- Telephones are fitted with a button that broadcasts difficult conversations to colleagues.
- External CCTV is installed.
- Staff use coded messages to alert other staff to a potential problem.
- A local policeman makes random visits.