Violence reduction service expanded

Pioneering hospital-based Navigator programme operating in Dundee.

Tayside patients affected by violent and chaotic lifestyles are being offered compassionate help and support when presenting at A&E following the expansion of a ground-breaking project to Ninewells Hospital.

The Navigator service encourages patients involved in violence to make the positive changes needed to improve their lives.

Navigator staff connect vulnerable patients with support services that can help address their needs including addiction, mental health problems and all forms of violence, including domestic abuse.

Working with the A&E teams the Navigators also support clinical staff to diffuse challenging situations, enabling the best care for patients.

The service, run by the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and Medics Against Violence, has helped almost 2,000 people to date in other areas of Scotland since its inception in 2015.

Officially launching the service Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

“While there is less crime and fewer victims than a decade ago, there remains a small number of people who experience a disproportionate level of repeat incidents of violence. We are determined to do more to support these individuals and the Navigator service has a vital part to play in reducing the impact of 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.

“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. I am delighted to see this service extended to Ninewells where our Navigators can make a real difference.”

Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit Niven Rennie said:

"We already know Navigator plays an important part in helping people break free from the cycle of violence by supporting patients and NHS staff and then acting as a bridge to life changing 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. 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."

NHS Tayside Chief Executive Grant Archibald said:

“The Navigators are already proving to be a very valuable addition to our high-performing Emergency Department team at Ninewells.

"Reaching out to some of our most vulnerable patients, the Navigators are in a unique position of being able to offer support when people are at a crisis point by linking them, and importantly their families, with services in their own communities.

"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."


The Navigator programme has been developed by the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (SVRU) and Medics Against Violence (MAV).

The Ninewells expansion is funded through NHS Tayside’s Health and Social Care partnership and will receive £80,000 in its first year.

The Navigators Programme aims to interrupt violence by identifying and supporting people within the Emergency Department (ED) or ward at the point and time of need.  The programme started at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary in December 2015 and was rolled out further to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in 2017 and into Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow and Cross House Hospital in the later part of 2018. Expansion of the programme to Ninewells is part of a wider expansion.  The Programme expanded to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley at the end of 2019 and further expansion is being explored at Wishaw General Hospital in Lanarkshire. 


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