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RCN calls for review of measures to protect nurses during riots


The NHS must review measures to protect nursing staff in light of the rioting sweeping across urban England, the Royal College of Nursing said today.

The college said it was particularly concerned about the safety of lone nurses working night shifts in community settings.

In a statement, the RCN said that “in the face of continuing civil disturbance in London and other inner-city areas” it expected healthcare organisations to be “reviewing risk assessments and measures to protect the safety of staff, especially community nursing staff working alone on evening or twilight shifts”.

The college noted that under the terms of the Employment Rights Act, employees could “withdraw from the work situation to a place of safety if they feel they are facing ‘serious or imminent danger’”.

The RCN statement follows joint guidance issued yesterday morning by the strategic health authority NHS London and the Londonwide Local Medical Council, which represents GPs in the capital.

It said the safety of GP practice staff safety was “paramount” and closing practices was “a realistic decision for practices to make and take” depending on local circumstances.

However, the advice was updated in the evening when the LMC and SHA should it was anticipated that calm would be restored to London overnight and, therefore, practices should “prepare to open as usual” today, unless advised not to by police.

Despite the relative calm in the capital, ambulances came under attack from missile throwing youths in Manchester and the West Midlands last night as the trouble spread.


Readers' comments (6)

  • The RCN amazes me: churning out shi!e like this, but when it comes to the crucial matters like our pay and pension or going on strike they’re deathly silent! Mouthy when it doesn’t matter should be the RCN’s mantra!

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  • To anonymous 10-aug-2011 3;10 pm.
    'mouthy when it doesn't matter'?
    Of course the safety of nurses working in the community on their own, particularly in the areas of rioting and violence is paramount. It is just as crucial for the RCN to highlight this issue, as well as to fight for our pay and pension rights. It is not 'shite' for them to consider nurses safety for goodness sake.

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  • "... when it comes to the crucial matters like our pay and pension or going on strike they’re deathly silent!"

    good gracious! are these factors more important than human safety and the safety of nurses carrying out their duties?

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  • I was attempting to draw colleagues attention to how fast the RCN can act when they want to. The RCN are spouting employment law here when they know that civil unrest is completely beyond their control. Why don’t they mention it when staff numbers are being cut, or when staff are going off sick with stress? You don’t normally hear a peep out of them.

    Common sense dictates that if there is a riot going on in a particular area it is right to close the practice or not make that house call. In my view, the RCN should be concentrating on matters they can influence like pay freezes and job cuts, not opportunist claptrap like this.

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  • Anonymous | 10-Aug-2011 10:03 pm

    Absolutely right. I think your original point was missed. The RCN should be a lot more vocal, a lot more often.

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  • Anonymous | 10-Aug-2011 10:03 pm I caught your original point and completely agree. The RCN are vocal only when they want to be it seems. And they shouldn't just be vocal, they should take more action, too!

    On your other point, if practices did close and we refused to go out to patients to treat them (which I totally agree with by the way) how soon would it be before the handwringers and the NMC are beating us with a big stick for not complying with the code of conduct or whatever fatuous excuse they want to use?

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