handling difficult conversations

News Release:
Compassionate Conversations for Difficult Situations


escalla rolls out a bespoke learning programme to support the NHS tackle the rise in challenging behaviour

Press Release: 16th August 2022

escalla has been commissioned to progress the second phase of the national NHS training programme 'Handling difficult conversations - Caring for yourself and others with compassion', after a successful pilot in early 2022.

This bespoke learning programme is designed to give frontline, patient-facing NHS workers the skills and techniques to handle difficult situations with compassion, including using appropriate communication techniques and active listening skills. The training, which supports the NHS People Promise “We are safe and healthy” commitment, also has a focus on looking after your own wellbeing and how to safely seek support if needed.

The training, which was commissioned by NHS England, will be made available at no additional cost to both clinical and non-clinical NHS colleagues across the country, but will focus predominantly on those in non-clinical roles who have not previously received such training. Colleagues will learn how to manage the rise in aggressive and threatening behaviour, as well as learning the skills to de-escalate and support patients in distress.

The launch of phase two follows a successful pilot completed earlier this year, in which more than 2,400 NHS colleagues took part. The pilot achieved a 95% satisfaction score, with most participants reporting that they left the course feeling more confident and capable of handling difficult situations. The statistics show a 25% increase in confidence levels due to the course and an overall satisfaction score of 95.1%. For more information, please read the case study.

“We are pleased to be able to extend this training programme after a successful pilot in 2021/22. By commissioning this programme at national level and co-designing the content with our NHS people, we are further demonstrating our NHS People Promise commitment to keep our colleagues safe and healthy. This programme responds to the requests of colleagues across the NHS who have shared with us a need for support. Given the high number of colleagues who report abuse or harassment at work, this programme aims to help colleagues develop the skills and techniques to handle such difficult situations, while not losing focus of their own health and wellbeing needs too.”

Steve Lee, Head of Health and Wellbeing at NHS England

'We are proud to be supporting the NHS to help tackle this priority issue. While we acknowledge that training is not the complete answer, we've seen the difference it has already made. Giving frontline workers the confidence and the skills to diffuse a situation is critical. But so too is giving them the ability to protect their own wellbeing and not become personally affected by challenging behaviour.'

David Field, CEO at escalla

The training will commence from 5 September 2022 through to 31 March 2023 and is open to all patient-facing, frontline roles across the NHS.

If you work in one of these roles or know someone who does, please visit the following page to book a course or recommend it to a colleague/friend.