Motion 28 and amendments
In 2017 it was reported that the number of assaults on prison staff had risen by 25 per cent since the previous year. Congress notes a recent study looking at large prisons showed that most workplace violence (44 per cent) occurred in adult male prisons. Many of the victims were healthcare workers. Verbal abuse (71 per cent) was more common than physical abuse (29 per cent). Abuse can result in both physical and mental injuries and heightened stress levels following any abusive incident is common.
Congress praises the work of GMB and other unions involved in the successful Protect the Protectors campaign. With the support of Labour MPs Holly Lynch MP and Chris Bryant MP this will result in new legislation and stronger sentencing for those who physically or sexual assault emergency service workers.
Congress agrees that healthcare workers including podiatrists, physiotherapists, nurses and doctors should not have to face the fear of violence and abuse when they go to work each day. College of Podiatry members have reported a lack of training given to staff coming into the prison environment. The prisons themselves are facing disastrous reductions in funding, leading to understaffing, stretching of resources and the support they are able to give to the healthcare workers.
Congress therefore calls on the General Council to highlight and campaign on the issue of workplace violence for prison staff, including healthcare workers.
Congress also calls on the General Council to lobby the government to adopt minimum standards throughout the sector including; adequate staffing levels, effective health and safety measures and more training and development opportunities to encourage staff retention and ensure prison officers have the skills to do their job effectively.
Mover: The College of Podiatry