Rise in assaults on NHS workers

There has been an increase in the number of physical assaults on NHS staff according to official figures.

The figures compiled by the NHS Information Centre show that in the period April 2011 to March 2012 there was an increase of 3.3 per cent in the number of assaults on people working for the NHS.

However, the rise has not been replicated at Kettering General Hospital where there were 11 assaults in 2011-2012 compared with 10 in the previous year.

There has been a much bigger increase at Northampton General Hospital.

In 2010-2011 there were 97 physical assaults on NHS staff, this jumped to 143 assaults in 2011-2012, an increase of 46.

However, all the 143 assaults are recorded as being the result of medical factors when the attacker did not know what they were doing or did not know what they were doing was wrong due to medical illness, mental ill health, severe learning disability or treatment administered.

The number of attacks on ambulance staff has also gone up. There were 83 attacks on East Midlands Ambulance Services staff in 2011-2012 compared with 70 in 2010-2011. Of the 83 physical assaults, 17 were recorded as being the result of medical factors.

Dave Godson, head of health in the East Midlands region for the trade union Unison, said: “It is appalling that anyone assaults NHS staff.

“Although we agree that health bodies should review existing care models and delivery of care to prevent these assaults, we also believe there is a link to the increase of assaults and the cuts. These figures also emphasise the folly of Government attacks on health and safety.

“Staff committed to providing our NHS should never be expected to suffer an assault at work and it will not be tolerated.”