Zero Tolerance Policy


The Westerham Practice supports the government's 'Zero Tolerance' campaign for all health service staff. This states that all clinicians and their staff have a right to care for others without fear of being attacked or abused. To successfully provide medical services a mutual respect between all practice staff and patients has to be in place.

Our staff will always endeavour to be polite, helpful, and sensitive to all patients’ individual needs and circumstances. All clinicians and staff understand that when ill or worried patients do not always act in a reasonable manner and will take this into consideration when trying to deal with a misunderstanding or complaint. However, aggressive behaviour, be it violent or abusive, will not be tolerated and may result in being removed from the Practice list and, in extreme cases, the Police being contacted. In order for the practice to maintain good relations with their patients the practice asks patients to read and take note of the types of behaviour that would be found unacceptable whether it be face to face, on the telephone or in writing:

  • Using bad language or swearing at practice staff
  • Any physical violence towards any member of the Primary Health Care Team or other patients, such as pushing or shoving
  • Verbal abuse towards the staff in any form including verbally insulting the staff or other patients.
  • Verbal threatening comments will not be tolerated within this practice
  • Racial abuse and sexual harassment will not be tolerated within this practice
  • Persistent or unrealistic demands that cause stress to staff will not be accepted.
  • Causing damage/stealing from the Practice's premises, staff or patients
  • Obtaining drugs and/or medical services fraudulently

The policy defines the three stages that will be taken by the Practice depending on the seriousness of the breach.

  • Stage 1: First breach of policy reported. A letter will be sent by the Practice Manager to inform the patient of the zero tolerance policy and outline the actions that will be taken by the practice to protect the patient and practice relationship.
  • Stage 2: A further breach is reported; a second letter will be sent to request a meeting with the GP Partners to see if a patient agreement of behaviour can be made.
  • Stage 3: An ongoing breach of a patient agreement or a serious breach which may or may not have police involvement can mean removal from the practice list. The removal of patients from our list is an exceptional and rare event and is a last resort in an impaired patient-practice relationship. When trust has irretrievably broken down, it is in the patient’s interest, just as much as that of the practice, that they should find a new practice. In rare cases, however, because of the possible need to visit patients at home it may be necessary to remove other members of the family or the entire household from our patient list.