Red card system proposed to curb violent patients

21 Jun 01
Health care unions have welcomed government plans to issue 'two strikes and you're out' warnings to violent and abusive patients.

22 June 2001

In the past year, there have been 65,000 attacks on medical and nursing staff. Many occur in casualty departments, where staff are particularly vulnerable because patients are often drunk or have to wait a long time to be seen. Violence is one of the main reasons for the exodus of nurses from the NHS.

Under government proposals due to be issued in the autumn, hospitals will be allowed to issue patients first with a yellow card, then a red card denying treatment if their offending behaviour continues.

If a second card is issued, the patient could be banned from the hospital for up to a year, although they would be able to seek treatment elsewhere.

Patients with mental health problems and those who need urgent treatment would be excluded.

Unison's general secretary, Dave Prentis, said the initiative was an innovative way of dealing with the rising tide of violence. 'The additional protection that this red card scheme offers should act as a warning to people to stop and think before they act. No one should live in fear of violence while going about their everyday work,' he added.


Did you enjoy this article?