Our trust values
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust

Our Commitment to Acceptable behaviour

We expect our staff to:

  • Provide a fair, open, proportionate and accessible service
  • Listen and understand
  • Treat everyone who contacts us with respect, empathy and dignity
  • Conduct themselves in accordance with Trust values


We expect everyone who contacts us to:

  • Treat employees with respect and courtesy
  • Engage with us in a way that does not impact on our ability to carry out our work effectively and efficiently.

Behaviour that is unacceptable

We recognise that some people who contact us may have reason to feel aggrieved, upset or distressed however it is not acceptable to direct the anger towards our staff. If the behaviour becomes unacceptable which includes abuse of our staff we will take action to protect the staff. This will involve following the Trust’s Violence Prevention and Reduction Policy which may involve verbal or written warnings being provided. Examples of what we consider to be unacceptable behaviour include:


Aggressive, abusive or offensive behaviour.

Physical behaviour, language, images (whether face to face, via telephone or written in e-mails, letters or online) that may cause employees to feel intimidated, uncomfortable, degraded, threatened or abused is not acceptable. This included abuse about any protected characteristic, as defined by the Equality Act 2010 (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and  civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation)


Unacceptable levels of contact

We may consider communication unacceptable in nature or because of the scale of service expected. For example:

  • Continually contacting us in the process of looking at the issue or complaint
  • Numerous calls or e-mails in one day or excessive contact over a short period of time
  • Repeatedly sharing information that has already been shared
  • Continually reframing the issue or complaint in such a way that it makes it difficult for us to do our job effectively.


Refusal to co-operate

It is unacceptable if a person refuses to engage with the complaints process by:

  • Refusing to provide information and/or evidence
  • Not providing a summary of their concerns
  • Not providing comments or responses to reasonable deadline
  • Not agreeing to a defined scope within a reasonable timescale


Action we might take

Wherever possible we will work with the individuals to rectify the situation and continue communication in a respectful and dignified manner for all involved. Where we are not able to do this we may take the following actions:

  • Provide a verbal warning at the time of the incident so the individual has an opportunity to understand the impact of their behaviour and rectify the situation
  • Provide a written warning following the incident so the individual is aware of the impact of their behaviour and can modify it for future interactions
  • Restrict contact to certain communication methods, while taking account of any reasonable adjustments in place
  • Restrict contact to named individuals
  • Restrict contact to certain times on set days
  • Block e-mails or telephone numbers

In exceptional cases we reserve the right to refuse to accept a complaint or future complaints from an individual.


Appealing a decision to restrict contact

If a letter has been sent informing someone of a restriction, we will provide information on how to appeal against the decision. If you wish to appeal the restriction you must do so within 10 working days. He restriction will remain in place whilst the appeal is considered.

Any appeal will only consider arguments against the restriction. It will not consider arguments related to any complaint or issue brought to us.

Duration of restricted contact

Restricted contact will be put in place for a minimum of six months and be reviewed every three months. At the end of the six months the restriction may be extended and reviews at three monthly intervals will continue.

If a restriction is removed you will be informed in writing or via an agreed format if a reasonable adjustment is in place

Non-compliance with restrictions

If someone does not comply with a restriction, employees have the right to stop contact at the time this happens. For example, if the restriction prohibits any telephone contact employees can remind that person of the restriction and end the call immediately.

If they continue to ignore the restriction, employees will consult with a manager to consider whether further restrictions are required in line with our Violence Prevention and Reduction Policy

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