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Home > News > April 2004 > 16-Apr-2004

National conflict resolution training begins for NHS frontline staff

The largest ever national training exercise in the 56 year history of the NHS has started this month, aiming to help 730,000 frontline staff deal with the problem of violence and abuse in the workplace.

Conflict Resolution Training will be available to all NHS frontline staff including doctors, nurses, paramedics and receptionists, and all those who come in to regular contact with the public in the course of their jobs. The one-day course will teach staff and professionals in how to defuse potentially violent situations.

The first courses started this month and will took place at the new NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS) Training Centre in Coventry.

The Conflict Resolution Training Course will include:

  • How to recognise potentially violent situations
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication skills i.e. body language
  • Cultural awareness skills

The new training centre for NHS Security Management will not only train NHS staff in conflict resolution but will train the new Local Security Management Specialists (LSMS) who will investigate incidents of violence against staff in their designated health body.

Jim Gee, Chief Executive of the NHS SMS said, "Violence against NHS staff is inexcusable and will not be tolerated. Conflict Resolution Training allows those on the frontline to protect themselves and their colleagues without resorting to physical restraint. Although we have introduced a number of security measures that will protect staff from attack, we believe that it is important to empower and give them the skills they need to control and defuse potentially violent situations. The majority of the public would not dream of attacking any member of NHS staff. Our intention is to fully protect them from the minority who would."

Bill Darling, Chair of the NHS SMS commented, "Over the last few years we have seen a steady rise in the number of reported incidents of violence in the NHS. This is clearly unacceptable. With the opening of our new training centre in security management and the beginning of the Conflict Resolution Training we are seeing some of the necessary measures being established to tackle the problem."

Doug Holloway, an Ambulance Officer with the Hereford and Worcester Ambulance Service, has experienced a number of incidents involving himself and colleagues. Doug took part in one of the course pilots, and said: "The course is very interesting and I thoroughly enjoyed it - very informative. I honestly believe people coming into the NHS will really benefit from the course, particularly younger staff who might not know how to deal with people threatening them or becoming abusive. People who have been around in the NHS a long time tend to learn by experience how to deal with the threat of violence. This course helps people look for the signs so an incident doesn't jump out at them. It helps you speak in a different way to people, read the signs of how someone is reacting to what is happening or what is being said to them and that could lead to a lot of incidents being avoided altogether."

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