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Friday 21 November 2003

UNISON calls for action plan following assault on nurse in Perth

Scotland's largest health care Union, UNISON have today called on the Scottish Executive to implement its six point action plan following the serious assault on a nurse in Perth Royal Infirmary.

Speaking today, Jim Devine, UNISON's Scottish Organiser (Health) said,

"In the past year two nurses were stabbed in an Ayr Hospital, one nurse was head-butted in an Argyll and Clyde Hospital, another was sexually assaulted in a Glasgow Hospital and one other was threatened with a gun in Fife Hospital. Last night another very serious incident occurred in Perth.

"UNISON understands that a knife was used and only the location of the incident prevented a much more tragic outcome. UNISON are today calling on the Scottish Executive to implement their 6 point action plan:

  • The Scottish Health Minister and NHS trade unions jointly issue a Staff Charter, reminding the public that it is not part of an NHS worker's job to be physically or verbally abused at work.
  • The standardisation throughout Scotland of the definition, recording and follow up of violent and potentially violent incidents, including verbal abuse, for all NHS staff.
  • An agreed training course on the management of violent or potentially violent incidents for all NHS staff.
  • The introduction of a ‘yellow and red card' warning system to members of the public who constantly abuse NHS staff. These warnings could lead to the banning of individuals from NHS premises if they persistently physically or verbally abuse staff.

  • Relatives who physically abuse NHS staff must be automatically charged and prosecuted by the Procurator Fiscal.
  • Every NHS worker in Scotland has a duty of care to her/himself and to her/his colleagues, to use the reporting system for every incident, and accept and expect that zero tolerance is not just the preferred but the only option.

"We are also calling on the Scottish Executive to carry out an immediate risk assessment of every hospital in Scotland as a matter of urgency. This nurse is not just a member of UNISON but is also an activist in our organisation and we are determined to ensure that physical and verbal abuse is not part of any health service workers job", continued Jim Devine.

For Further Information Please Contact:

Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser 0845 355 0845(w) 07876 441239(m)