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Over 150 NHS staff attacked every day

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Over 150 attacks on NHS staff are carried out every day, figures have shown.

Over a 12-month period in 2008-09, 54,758 people working in UK hospitals, ambulance services, primary care trusts and mental health services reported an assault, according to NHS Security Management Service (SMS) statistics.

Numbers have dropped from the 2007-08 total, with 1,235 fewer attacks than last year.

Mental health and learning disability workers reported more than 70% of incidents, with 38,958 attacks. Ambulance workers had the lowest number, at 1,240 across the country.

Physical assaults on 941 people led to prosecutions against the attacker.

Head of the NHS SMS, Richard Hampton, said in a press release: “NHS staff must be able to deliver high quality clinical care in a safe and secure environment. We are supporting staff in this aim through a network of professionally trained Local Security Management Specialists.

“New legislation is also being introduced to tackle low level nuisance and disturbance behaviour, preventing situations escalating into something more serious.

“All trusts have a responsibility to ensure that risks to their staff are minimised through guidance, support and training - and we help them do this.”

Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter said: “The very slight decline may be a step in the right direction but too many employers are failing to invest in measures to prevent attacks on staff in the first place. In particular, lone workers continue to be put at risk despite the government scheme to provide assistance with the funding of lone worker alarm devices and training.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I quite agree with Peter Carter. In our hospital, there are very few measures to prevent attacks on staff. There is NO daytime security whatsoever, and the night time security is about as much use as a chocolate teapot. When we have very violent patients in, we have to buy in security at £25 an hour, and for this we practically have to prostitute ourselves to the hospital manager.

    Support for nurses against violent is practically non existent. Nurses on my ward have been punched, kicked, abused, had broken thumb and wrist, spat at, sicked on, shouted and sworn at. What price do you put on a nurse's safety? Obviously NOT a high priority.

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