20 November 2018

‘Changing Perceptions of Violence in Forensic Services’ was the theme of the presentation and talk given to two leading representatives of NHS England when they came to visit the Trust’s Forensic Services at Homerton’s John Howard Centre  on Monday 19th November.

Professor Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for NHS England, and Jane Clegg, NHS England’s Director of Nursing, were given a presentation by staff and service users which explained how they  have successfully co-operated together  to bring down incidents of verbal and physical violence  across the whole site. Lorraine Sanduza, Director of Nursing for the Trust, took Professor Cummings and Ms Clegg to meet staff and service users on the Morrison Ward and the site’s Oasis Café afterwards.

The presentation started with Day Njovana, Head of Nursing and Associate Clinical Director of Safety, leading off with a description of how the initiative started back in 2012 as part of a collaboration with the Quality Improvement team. ‘Gradually at first, service users felt safer and staff started to look forward to coming into work,’ he explained.

A key part of reducing violence is making sure that service users feel that they are part of the process. ‘What Grinds Your Gears?’ was the name of the survey that encouraged everyone to speak up and say what they thought needed to change. 

During the presentation a service user explained how she ‘used to be a violent person, and I could speak in an offensive way but  the new staff safety huddle changed this. They gave me a lot of care. I became a new person.’ 

‘We are now at the point where both staff and patients are safer. People now have a daily forum where they can talk about problems, but more importantly, action for change is taken when needed.’ 

Other areas targeted under the Violence Reduction Programme include a focus on how to reduce the use of restraint and seclusion across the wards. Lorna Hayes, the clinical practice lead for Bow ward explained how the length of time people spend on seclusion has gone down because staff and service user safety huddles are now embedded as routine practice. 

NHS England Director of Nursing Jane Clegg asked what effect the reduction in violence has had on staff recruitment and retention.  ‘There are challenges, but we are in a better position than some other areas’ explained  Mr. Njovana.

After the presentation Professor Cummings said, ‘The good work everyone at the Trust has done in violence reduction is something you should all be shouting from the rooftops.’