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GPs are to get training in conflict resolution

Every GP in England is to be given a one-day training course in conflict resolution as part of a Government plan to reduce the chances of violent incidents.

A total of 730,000 frontline NHS staff will take the course, which shows how to diffuse

potentially hazardous situations, such as by reading body language.

The move is one of a series of new initiatives from the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service in a strategy document aimed at improving NHS security and cutting theft and damage to property.

Other proposals include trusts appointing security management specialists to monitor, investigate and pursue cases where patients have infringed codes of behaviour, including pursuing civil actions where police have been unable to prosecute an offender.

A security manual giving examples of best practice, including how premises can be made safer by lighting, panic buttons, CCTV and exits to guard against violence, will also be published next summer.

A legal framework will be published this month to ensure the strategy is put into practice. The service will also set targets for reducing violent incidents.

Jim Gee, chief executive of the counter fraud service, said he wanted PCTs to pick up the bill for the self-defence course, but they would not be given

extra cash to meet the cost.

He added: 'We are looking for permanent, lasting change in the NHS.'

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