Home > Topics > Communication > Dealing with Violent Patients

Dealing with Violent Patients

CommunicationDental practices should be aware of the possibility that a patient might become violent or aggressive and have in place contingency plans to deal with such an incident [1,2].

The requirements relating to violent patients are contained in the Terms of Service for Dentists [3]. These are an interpretation of the National Health Service (General Dental Services) (Scotland) Regulations 2010 [4]. 

The following provides a brief list of points to consider; see Zero Tolerance May 2023 (Word)for more details and De-registration of NHS Patients for reporting violent incidents to the police.

Put in place a policy which details how the practice will deal with violent incidents (see Zero Tolerance May 2023 (Word)).

Consider staff training in the causes of violence and recognition of warning signs.

Security should, in part, be based on knowledge of a patient’s past behaviour and the location of the practice.

Consider installing panic alarms, particularly where a member of staff may be isolated with a patient. This could be a button-activated alarm or a portable ‘rape’ alarm.

Re-opening the surgery after normal hours is a potential problem area; consider security implications for unaccompanied members of staff.

Domiciliary visits are another potential problem area; carry out a risk assessment in such a situation.

Keep records of any violent incidents (see Violent Incident Report May 2023 (Word)).

De-register violent patients with immediate effect, if appropriate (see De-registration of NHS Patients) [3].