Hospitals and GPs can refuse to treat sexist, racist or abusive patients under strict new rules

19 February 2020, 12:53

Patients who behave inappropriately towards staff will be refused
Patients who behave inappropriately towards staff will be refused. Picture: Getty

The rather tough new rules have been put in place by Health Secretary, Matt Hancock.

Hospitals and GPs can refuse to treat any patients who are behaving in abusive manner, all under strict new rules which were brought in following high rates of harassments of NHS staff.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has vowed he will ensure the "appalling" abuse of staff and high levels of violence and imitation in the health service.

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NHS staff are constantly subject to horrible abuse from patients
NHS staff are constantly subject to horrible abuse from patients. Picture: Getty

Nearly a third of all workers (29 per cent) have revealed they have been bullied, harassed or abused by patients or the patients' relatives over the past year - astonishing figures.

As well as that, 7.2 per cent of NHS staff have also experienced racist, sexist or religious discrimination in that time, which is up a quarter in four years.

The new rules, which will come into play in April, will which protect staff against abuse, allowing them to decline to treat any patient or visitor unless they need emergency care - something which hasn't previously been possible.

In the past this was only possible if the patients or the visitors were being aggressive or physically violent towards workers, but it was found that this wasn't enough.

Staff will be able to refuse treatment
Staff will be able to refuse treatment. Picture: Getty

The findings come from the NHS staff survey for England, which asked the views of 569,000 health workers.

Mr Hancock has now written to them all, saying “being assaulted or abused is not part of the job”.

He added: “There is far too much violence against NHS staff, and too much acceptance that it’s part of the job.

“Far too often I hear stories that the people you are trying to help lash out.

“I am horrified that anyone would abuse or physically assault a member of our NHS staff but it happens too often.”