Bristol

Bristol Southmead Hospital: Racist patients could have treatment withdrawn

Hospital ward
Image caption Any visitors "causing disturbance or behaving in an unacceptable manner" would get one verbal warning before being removed

Patients who racially abuse hospital staff could have their treatment withdrawn, an NHS trust said.

North Bristol Trust (NBT) launched its Red Card to Racism campaign after staff reported an increase of abuse from patients and visitors at the city's Southmead Hospital.

The abusive behaviour covers racist or sexist language, gestures or behaviour.

Trust chief executive Andrea Young said they wanted staff to "challenge and report it".

Under the scheme, any patient abusing staff would be challenged and warned, leading to a "sports-style disciplinary yellow card" followed by a final red card in which treatment would be "withdrawn as soon as is safe".

Image caption Dr Talal Valliani said a patient who racially abused him was removed from the ward

Consultant gastroenterologist Dr Talal Valliani was subjected to racist abuse while on ward duties at Southmead Hospital.

He said it was made in front of other people who "took immediate action by calling the security team up to the ward".

"The police then informed the offender of the policy, and the patient was given the red card," he said.

"We of course made sure he was clinically safe, patient safety is paramount, and once I established that, he was removed from the ward."

Image caption PC Gethin Jones said before the policy staff were just "taking abuse" and not reporting it

PC Gethin Jones, from Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We are seeing more [racist incidents] but I think that's more to do with the trust's support of workers, who now report more incidents than they did before.

"I think we probably had them before but people weren't reporting anything, people were just taking abuse."

Ms Young said: "We're sending a strong signal that any racism or discrimination is completely unacceptable - we want staff to challenge and report it and we want everyone to know that it will have consequences."

Alex Raikes, from Stand Against Racism and Inequality, said: "It's great to see NBT putting out the strongest message possible to the wider community about the abhorrence of any forms of discrimination against their staff or visitors."

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