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Violence threat to healthcare assistants

More than 70% of healthcare assistants have been the victim of aggression and violence at work, suggests research by the Unison.

A survey of nearly 1,200 healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners found 13% of those who had been the victim of violence at work had been threatened with a weapon. Nearly a fifth had been the victim of an assault that required medical assistance or first aid.

In addition, more than 40% of respondents said they had considered leaving their role over the last year and only 11% believed that staffing levels were adequate in their clinical area.

More than 80% thought HCAs should be regulated in the same way as other healthcare professionals to protect patients and ensure high standards.

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: “This survey illustrates the sometimes grim reality for healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners, whose already challenging job is made harder by inadequate staffing and the threat of aggression and violence.”

“Healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners play a vital role in healthcare delivery,” she added.

The survey results were presented today at Unison’s annual Healthcare Assistant Seminar, which is taking place in Glasgow.

Readers' comments (5)

  • Anyone working in a health setting risks getting abused every single day,it happens to all of us. The NHS is a grim place for everyone to work in these days.

    All too often HCAs are asked to 'special' aggressive patients because it's a cheap option instead of employers paying for security guards or trained mental health staff.
    Hospitals put up pointless red signs, they never ban people from hospitals so we just take aggression and abuse as part of our job.
    Until abusive patients (friends and families too) are physically removed by the police then this will continue.

    Confused unwell but aggressive patients need 1-1 nursing/security care, this is essential to the welfare of everyone and must be addressed.

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  • Research by the DSDC at Stirling University suggests that by good design, signage and colour, aggression and violence in acute settings can be reduced by 60%. I specialise in the dementia care environment but am also supporting NHS Trusts improve their acute wards and we are seeing some very positive changes. Realistically, we will never eliminate agitation and aggression in hospital settings, but it is definitely possible to substantially reduce it.

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  • Hmmm. Working for a private company and making profit from the NHS by selling them signs. Not really addressing the issue, is it?

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  • 1,200 HCAs is a good sized sample, but what is the geographical and specialty spread?

    If they were all in Urgent Care, Neurological Rehabilitation or Elderly Care this would skew the results. Its quite disappointing that such a sensational headline isn't backed up with more facts or at least a link to the research.

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  • perhaps this article is really leading up to a discussion about regulation of hca's.

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