Royal Free London chief executive Caroline Clarke has joined with leaders across the NHS in a clear message: violence and aggression towards staff will not be tolerated. 

The chief executives off all hospitals in London have signed an open letter thanking colleagues for the incredible effort and commitment and reminding patients and visitors that increasing levels of abuse towards them is simply unacceptable. 

In the letter, staff are encouraged to report all forms of verbal or physical abuse from patients or their family and friends so that action can be taken and staff can be supported. 

The letter is unequivocal – ‘abusing our staff is never okay’ – and reminds patients and their loved ones that those working in the NHS are striving to do their best for those using our services. 

The letter has been issued ahead of an NHS summit aimed at reducing violence and aggression towards staff in the capital. 

Caroline said: “I would like to thank staff for their courage and dedication over the past two years. To all those who have faced abuse from patients or members of the public during the course of your work, please remember that we will support you. I would like to encourage all staff to report any abusive behaviour that you encounter to your manager or the staff member in charge of the ward, area or department you are working in so they can assist you. 

“To our patients and their loved ones, please remember to treat everyone in our hospitals with kindness and respect as we will not tolerate abusive behaviour.” 

Staff on Monday met with CEOs and senior leads of NHS trusts to discuss what can be done to support staff and reduce these incidents in London. 

An open message to staff and colleagues working in the NHS across London

Every year, tens of thousands of staff and colleagues working in the NHS in London are confronted with violence and aggression from patients and members of the public simply for going to work.

Now, the abuse is at a dangerous level with many of our once hailed heroes fearing for their safety.

We, leaders of the NHS in London are speaking with one voice to say that aggression and violence towards our staff will not be tolerated.

To our fantastic staff and colleagues working in London’s NHS:
• We appreciate you
• We thank you for continuing to care for people when they are at their most vulnerable
• We encourage you to report all forms of verbal or physical abuse from patients, their families and their friends so that we may support you and so that we may take action.

To our patients, their families and friends please understand:
• We will strive to do our best for you and your loved ones
• People who are most unwell do need to be seen most urgently, but all our patients are important to us and will receive the care needed
• While we are thankful for the support shown by so many, to those who show violence and aggression let it be known: Abusing our staff is never ok.