Figures reveal attacks on NHS staff on the rise

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SEVEN NHS workers are attacked in our area every day, The News can reveal.

Figures obtained show that 2,674 staff – from paramedics to doctors and nurses – were assaulted as they tried to do their jobs last year.

It marks a 19 per cent increase on the 2,244 assaults reported in 2008/9.

Assaults on ambulance staff saw the biggest rise, going up 71 per cent from 35 to 60 incidents.

A spokeswoman at South Central Ambulance NHS Trust said they were disappointed in the rise in attacks on staff.

She added: ‘If crews find themselves in a violent situation or are attacked whilst attending to a patient our portable radio systems carry a “man down” facility which alerts our control to an incident in progress, and assistance can be provided for them in the shape of further back-up or police.’

Staff at Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust saw 2,144 reported assaults last year – up 26 per cent.

But 873 attacks at the trust, which cares for people with learning disabilities and mental health conditions, are linked to ‘medical factors’.

At NHS Portsmouth reports rose slightly from 119 to 224.

Chief executive Tracy Sanders said the number of attacks on staff was likely to fall next year after it handed over mental health services to Solent Healthcare.

‘As a result, it’s extremely likely that the next annual reporting of assaults against NHS Portsmouth staff will show a huge fall,’ she said.

Attacks dropped at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust – which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham – from 97 to 74 year-on-year, and from 24 to 22 at NHS Hampshire.

And at West Sussex Primary Care Trust they halved from 36 to 18.

Julie Dawes, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust director of nursing, said: ‘The welfare and wellbeing of our staff is a high priority for the trust and we are pleased to see the number of assaults on our staff is reducing. However, one assault is one too many.’

Number of attacks 2009/10 rate per 1,000 staff Assaults due to medical factors

Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust 2,144 511 873

NHS Hampshire 22 4.8 11

NHS Portsmouth 224 76 18

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust 74 9.3 0

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust 132 21.1 35

West Sussex Primary Care Trust 18 5 18

South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust 60 25,2 8