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  1. ITV Report

Southmead Hospital to withhold treatment from racist patients under new policy

Southmead Hospital in Bristol. Credit: ITV News West Country

Patients who racially abuse staff at a hospital in Bristol could have their treatment withdrawn under a new zero-tolerance policy.

North Bristol NHS Trust has launched its ‘Red Card to Racism’ campaign after staff at Southmead Hospital reported an increase in abuse from patients and visitors.

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would be warned, leading to a "sports-style” yellow card followed by a final red card in which treatment would be "withdrawn as soon as is safe".

Patients who abuse staff will have their treatment withheld. Credit: ITV News West Country

The abusive behaviour covers racist or sexist language, excessive noise, abuse of alcohol or drugs, threatening language, malicious allegations and intentional damage to property.

We have staff from many different backgrounds, from all over the world, and we pride ourselves on our commitment to equality which is a fundamental value of the NHS. 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.

– Andrea Young, Chief Executive from North Bristol NHS Trust

Posters have been put up around the hospital informing patients that they are now subject to the policy.

The hospital is also calling on its staff to join its Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Network to champion the approach and to provide support to any affected staff.

Staff at Southmead Hospital have reported an increase in abuse from patients and visitors. Credit: ITV News West Country

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.

– Alex Raikes, Stand Against Racism & Inequality (SARI)