Aggressive patients to get one-year ban from hospitals to curb abuse

Credit: PA

Violent and abusive patients and visitors will be shown a 'red card' in some hospitals in London, preventing them from accessing those medical facilities for up to 12 months.

Death threats, physical abuse and racial slurs are among the offences that could lead to bans from King George Hospital in Goodmayes and Queen's Hospital in Romford, both run by Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Some staff in those hospitals have also started wearing body cameras in a bid to curb violence and aggression towards health workers after cases at the trust have doubled in the last three years.

NHS workers reported having been punched, subject to racist slurs - including being told to "go back to the jungle" - and had their teeth broken by violent patients.

The measures are part of a new campaign called 'No Abuse, No Excuse', which includes 60 body cameras to be distributed across staff in areas such as A&E, easier policies to ban patients and visitors, increased visibility of security staff and a training course in de-escalating violence for employees.

Staff who have suffered abuse in the past are at the forefront of the campaign.

Nurse Yvonne Ihekwoakba said she was verbally abused by a patient when she offered him his medication before she was put in hospital herself.

"I tried to calm him down. The next thing I knew I was punched in my stomach and landed on the floor. I was in A&E for several hours,” she said.

Security officer, Mohammed Islam, said: “I tripped taking a patient back to his room and he kicked me in the jaw. He broke my teeth, and I was bleeding. I found it challenging, both physically and mentally, to come back to work again.”

Theo Kayode-Osiyemi, who works on the appointments team, said he has "often" been racially abused while doing his job.

"One day I was told to ‘go to the jungle where I belong’,” he said.

The NHS trust wants it to be more straightforward for staff to ban an abusive patient "when it is clinically safe to do so".

The current rules are more complicated, and only one person has been prohibited from one of the hospitals in the past five years.

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There were 36 incidents of violence and aggression against staff by patients, relatives or visitors at the trust’s hospitals in January 2021, a spokesperson said. In January 2024, this rose to 75.

“Our staff should not be shouted at, hit, or subjected to racist abuse while doing their job. It’s happening more and more often to colleagues in our hospitals, and we are taking action to respond to their concerns," Matthew Trainer, trust chief executive, said.

Figures from the 2022 NHS Staff Survey show that across England, 28% of staff had been subject to harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, their relatives or other members of the public while at work.

ITV News is looking to speak to anybody who has experienced violent hospital patients or visitors. If you have a story to share, you can get in touch at