Zero Tolerance

The Practice takes it very seriously if a member of staff or one of the doctors or nursing team is treated in an abusive or violent way.

The Practice supports the government’s ‘Zero Tolerance’ campaign for Health Service Staff.

This states that GPs and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused. To successfully provide these services a mutual respect between all the staff and patients has to be in place.

All our staff aim to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to all patients’ individual needs and circumstances. They would respectfully remind patients that very often staff could be confronted with a multitude of varying and sometimes difficult tasks and situations, all at the same time. The staff understand that ill patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint.

However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, verbal or physical, will not be tolerated and may result in you being removed from the Practice list and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted.

Unacceptable Behaviour

In order for the practice to maintain good relations with their patients the practice would like to ask all its patients to read and take note of the occasional types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable:

  • Violence (towards members of staff and/or other patients)
  • Excessive noise e.g., recurrent loud or intrusive conversation or shouting
  • Threatening or abusive language involving swearing or offensive remarks
  • Derogatory remarks regarding protected characteristics (e.g., racist, sexist, or homophobic behaviour)
  • Making inflammatory statements e.g. “You are incompetent and should be sacked”
  • Derogatory, abusive, or insulting comments made about staff online or in the media
  • Harassing, abusing, or threatening staff on their personal social networks
  • Malicious allegations relating to members of staff, other patients, or visitors
  • Offensive sexual gestures or behaviours
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs on practice premises
  • Drug dealing on practice premises
  • Willful damage to practice property or threats to damage practice property
  • Threats, threatening behaviour or intimidation
  • Theft
  • Abuse of practice processes/policy

We ask you to treat our GPs and our staff courteously at all times. If such behaviour is witnessed, then patients will receive a formal warning asking them to reflect on their approach towards staff and patients, and the opportunity to alter their behaviour going forward. If this does not occur then we may be forced to consider other options available to the Practice.

Removal From the Practice List

A good patient-doctor relationship, based on mutual respect and trust, is the cornerstone of good patient care. The removal of patients from our list is an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-practice relationship. This may include isolated or persistent behaviour, such as listed above.

When a relationship has irretrievably broken down, it is in the patient’s interest, just as much as that of the Practice, that they should find a new GP surgery. In these circumstances, the Patient will receive a letter outlining the situation and advising them they are to be removed from the Practice list.

An exception to this is on immediate removal on the grounds of violence (e.g. when the Police are involved) where patients will be referred to the Special Allocation Scheme.

Removing Other Members of a Household

In rare cases, it may be necessary to terminate our responsibility to other members of the family or the entire household following the removal of an individual.

Where there may be a possibility that this person may attend surgery for the care of another, or that a visit is required to a residence where they may be present, this may make it too difficult for the Practice to continue to look after other patients. If by keeping the family or household registered with the Practice this may put staff at risk of further violence or threatening behaviour, then we will be forced to request the deduction of other patients because of their actions.

If this decision is made, then all affected parties will be informed and the reasoning why this difficult choice has had to be made.