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Patient Safety Congress: Nurse fear puts patients at risk

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Fear and lack of knowledge around mental health and human rights legislation could put patient safety at risk, delegates were warned.

Malcolm Rae, lead officer for the National Institute for Mental Health, England, said nurses were reluctant to address patient behaviour as a result of their lack of confidence.

‘Staff may lack confidence and feel threatened and challenged by patient empowerment,’ he said. ‘Emphasis on rights might make some staff reluctant to be more assertive and knowledge of the mental health act should feature in training plans.’

He added that taking no action to improve patient safety was not an option.

He urged mental health nurses to be more proactive in bringing about safeguards for patients by listening but also by being assertive.

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