Our colleagues are here to care for you.
At Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, we strive to always deliver excellent care with compassion. We want to help you feel better and support you when you are unwell and to do this we need to work in partnership with you to create an environment of safety, mutual care, respect and understanding.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in verbal and physical attacks and discrimination towards our colleagues, this is unacceptable. We appreciate that at present our waiting times for treatment can be long and sometimes the pressures we are experiencing may lead to a less than satisfactory patient experience. Understandably this can cause anxiety, distress and sometimes anger. Please do not take your frustrations out on our colleagues. If you feel that they are not responding to your concerns then we would encourage you in the first instance to escalate any issues to the most senior person in the area in which you or your family / friends are being treated. If this still does not provide you with a satisfactory response please raise with our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALs) (e mail: PALS@lthtr.nhs.uk) who may be able to address things whilst you/your loved one are still in hospital. If you still feel strongly that your issue has not been resolved, then we would encourage you to submit a formal complaint, so this can be thoroughly investigated and we can provide you with a formal response.
We want you, as our patients, to feel safe when in our care and to feel able to access our services without fear of being witness to acts which may be aggressive, violent or a form of harassment towards others. To try and create a safe and welcoming environment, we continue to commit to training our colleagues in effective conflict management, helping concerns to be resolved respectfully and trying to prevent issues from escalating. Equally we will continue to reflect and learn from incidents or complaints by putting ourselves into the shoes of others to understand how our actions could have contributed and what we can do to make the experience of our care better.
We want everyone to feel able to be their ‘whole selves’ and actively uphold the right of every colleague, patient, visitor and member of our wider community to be treated with dignity, respect and without fear of discrimination. We are openly committed to creating a secure, welcoming, caring and friendly environment, free from all racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, sexual misconduct, violence, bullying, and any form of sexual, physical, verbal or emotional abuse.
We are committed to a strict policy of zero tolerance in response to any sort of discrimination, harassment, bullying or abuse regarding a person’s disability, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religious beliefs, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity or socio economic background. We take allegations of threatening, abusive, humiliating, anti-social, violent or hurtful behaviour against any of our colleagues or patients very seriously and we fully support and encourage anyone who has experienced this or witnessed a colleague who tolerated this to come forward. No act is considered to be too small to be addressed.
In all but life threatening situations, we have the right to withhold treatment from those behaving inappropriately, for children whose parents or carers are behaving inappropriately we will continue to care for the child in all circumstances. In extreme cases, the police will be contacted if the patient or visitor is posing a threat to colleagues or others for the issue to be reported as a crime.
It is unacceptable for patients to refuse treatment, care or services from a member of staff if the refusal is based on discriminatory grounds such as their perceived or known; sexuality, race, religion, disability, gender reassignment, age. Should you refuse services on discriminatory grounds then it will be considered that you are refusing treatment altogether, leading to you being discharged from our care.
We understand that some patients may prefer to treated by a clinician of the same sex due to specific cultural traditions or for dignity. We will try to be sensitive to your wishes and such requests will be considered on an individual basis. However there is no statutory requirement for the NHS to provide a clinician of the same sex in any healthcare setting. We will ensure we fulfil our duty to you to deliver a proper standard of care to all our patients, but we do not have a duty to promise it will be delivered by a particular person of either gender as described under the NHS Act 1990.
What do we mean by zero tolerance?
Whilst it is not possible to list all types of incident or negative acts, below are some examples of the unacceptable behaviour we will not tolerate:
- Feeling intimidated due to aggression or invading of personal space
- Offensive language, verbal abuse, inappropriate banter and swearing
- Physical violence or causing physical harm to another person
- Loud and intrusive conversation
- Unwanted or abusive remarks
- Negative, malicious or stereotypical comments
- Using objects as weapons (such as by throwing, hitting others) or carrying a weapon
- Threatening to injure or hurt another person
- Trying to intimidate
- Sexual harassment, such as innuendoes, commenting on a person’s appearance, leering or touching
- Racist, ageist, homophobic, sexist, transphobic behaviour or derogatory comments about a person’s colour or religion.
- Unreasonable behaviour or non-cooperation
- Leaving the Ward or clinical area for long periods without discussion with the clinical team
- Alcohol or illicit substance misuse including bringing these items into the hospital
- Theft or damage of our property
We hope that you welcome our zero tolerance approach, which is in place to protect the interests of our hard-working colleagues as well as all the patients and communities we serve.