More than 2,000 NHS staff attacked by patients in the line of duty

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  • Trusts encourage a zero-tolerance policy on attacks
  • Assaults can lead to sanctions such as banning a person from a facility
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MORE than 2,000 NHS staff working for health trusts in this area were physically attacked by patients in the past year.

The assaults include a range of staff such as workers at Queen Alexandra Hospital, paramedics, community teams and mental health professionals.

Any incidents or assaults towards staff are completely unacceptable and we encourage staff to report all assaults using the trust’s incident reporting system.

John Dunn, head of risk and security for South Central Ambulance Service

Solent NHS Trust, which provides community and mental health services for Portsmouth recorded 196 attacks, with 176 due to a medical factor such as the patient having a mental health problem.

The figures relate to the financial year running from April 2014, to March 2015, and also included whether a criminal sanction was placed or a civil one, such as banning a patient from a facility.

Chief nurse Mandy Rayani said: ‘As an organisation the safety of our staff is of paramount concern, which is why our trust reviews the number of assaults against our staff regularly.

‘Fortunately most of the assaults recorded against Solent within this report fall into the minor category, which means there was little or no injury, however tackling violence and aggression is, and will continue to be a high priority.

‘We take any act of violence against our staff incredibly seriously and work closely with our services and the police to ensure that appropriate action is taken.’

The figures have been released by NHS Protect, an organisation which works to identify and tackle crime across the health service.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs QA, recorded 173 assaults in the year 2014/15 – 122 of these attacks included a medical factor – and two led to criminal prosecutions.

A PHT spokesman said: ‘We have a zero-tolerance policy of verbal and physical abuse against any of our staff and every incident is investigated.

‘Training is available to staff in how to handle aggressive situations and we hope for reductions of incidents in the future.’

Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs community and mental health services in Hampshire, recorded 2,029 assaults.

A trust spokesman said: ‘Unfortunately, due to the nature of the services we provide assaults on staff can and do happen.

‘This is why we continue to invest in providing the best support possible for our staff. We encourage our staff to report all forms of assault.’

South Central Ambulance Service (Scas) reported 111 assaults, with 41 attributed to medical factors.

As a result of staff being encouraged to report violence, Scas has the highest number of civil sanctions imposed compared to other ambulance services with 78.

John Dunn, head of risk and security, said: ‘Any incidents or assaults towards staff are completely unacceptable and we encourage staff to report all assaults using the trust’s incident reporting system.

‘On receipt of these reports, Scas will place a marker on the assailant’s address to inform and forewarn any personnel who may visit the same location in response to future emergency calls.

‘The fact we diligently record and report these markers as “civil sanctions” to the NHS is reflected in our total.’