The team from Harplands Hospital examined all recorded episodes of violence and aggression witnessed by staff. All incidents that had happened a year before the introduction of a smoke-free hospital policy in April 2006 were compared with all those that happened a year after.
The hospital had introduced a partial ban so that staff and patients could still smoke in designated areas outside the hospital. From 1 July this year however, the Department of Health has introduced a complete ban on smoking in all English psychiatric hospitals.
Around 1,300 incidents were reported between April 2005 and April 2006. This fell 43% to 738 between April 2006 and April 2007.
The research was presented at a Royal College of Psychiatrists conference in London earlier this month.