Hospital violence reduction programme expanded
A “life changing” service offering support to A&E patients affected by violent and chaotic lifestyles in Scotland will be rolled out to NHS Tayside patients.
The Navigator service, run by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) and Medics Against Violence, has helped almost 2,000 people across six emergency departments in Scotland since its inception in 2015.
The programme works with A&E teams and clinical staff to diffuse challenging situations at hospitals and connect vulnerable patients with support including addiction, mental health problems and violence including domestic abuse.
The expansion to NHS Tayside’s Ninewells Hospital will cost £80,000 in its first year, funded through NHS Tayside’s Health and Social Care partnership.
SVRU director Niven Rennie said workers at the service, known as “navigators”, helped people to “break free from the cycle of violence” by both supporting patients and acting as a bridge for them to access services.
“We are delighted that Navigator has now been established in six emergency departments across the country and are excited about the expansion into Dundee,” Rennie said.
“With the backing of NHS Tayside we look forward to supporting patients, their families and their communities to live lives free from violence and the effects of violence.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said he was happy to see the service extended, and that the Scottish Government was “determined to do more to support” people impacted by crime and violence.
“Navigators do a remarkable job, helping to support people often living in difficult circumstances, to receive support that can truly be life changing. Their interventions in emergency departments have a massive impact on the individual and also benefit their families and the wider community,” he said.
“The bespoke and personal approach taken by Scotland’s Navigators ensures that some of the most vulnerable patients within emergency departments can get access to the help and support that is right for them.”
NHS Tayside chief executive Grant Archibald said navigators were in a unique position to be able to offer support when people were “at a crisis point”.
“Being treated at the emergency department is often just one step in a patient’s journey and it is by hospital and community services working together like this that we can make the biggest difference to patients and their families,” Archibald said.
The Navigators Programme started at Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2015 and was rolled out further to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary two years later, followed by Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and Cross House Hospital at the end of 2018. At the end of last year, the programme was expanded to Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley.
The Ninewells Hospital expansion is part of a wider expansion, including to Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire in the future.