VERBALLY and physically abusive patients and visitors are being warned they face prosecution if they attack NHS staff over the festive period.
Cwm Taf University Health Board has a zero tolerance stance towards all abuse and disrespectful behaviour and it will take action against perpetrators.
The warning comes as a 21-year-old man has been jailed by magistrates for abusing staff at St John’s Medical Practice, in Aberdare.
Dave Lewis, Cwm Taf University Health Board’s violence and aggression case manager, said: “The overwhelming majority of our patients and visitors treat our staff with the respect and dignity they deserve. But a small minority do not.
“Sadly, there are instances where our staff have been subjected to verbal and even physical abuse when they have been trying to care for an injured or ill patient.
“Such behaviour is not acceptable at any time of the year and we will take action against those people who abuse our staff, whether they are working in our hospitals, in GP surgeries or in the community.”
Between January 1 and November 30 this year, 22 people have been prosecuted through the courts for abusive or aggressive behaviour towards NHS staff in the Cwm Taf area.
In the latest case, James Robert Edwards (pictured), of Blaen Nantygroes Road, Cwmbach, Aberdare, was jailed for eight weeks on December 11 after pleading guilty to a public order offence and criminal damage by Merthyr Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard he was verbally abusive and threatening towards staff at St John’s Medical Practice, in Aberdare, on November 27.
Cwm Taf University Health Board also submitted 103 anti-social behaviour referrals to Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil community safety partnerships as a result of abusive or aggressive behaviour.
In addition, 85 warning markers were placed on patients’ records to warn staff of the potential risk of violence from a patient. Patients were written to advising them of their unacceptable behaviour.
And 62 code of conduct letters were sent to patients, advising them of their unacceptable behaviour.