Increase in attacks on NHS workers


The number of attacks on NHS staff members whilst at work has increased to 68000 annually. This figure equates to almost eight per hour.

Most of the attacks are believed to occur when staff is in the midst of supporting or treating patients.

According to experts, the increased crisis situation present in A&E units, fewer frontline staff members and the increase in waiting times could be reasons for these concerning figures.

The head of health at Unison, the union, Christina McAnea, said these figures were ‘absolutely shocking’ and added that there are many assaults that are not reported, which increases the figure.

The executive director of nursing at the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, said the level of attacks increasing every year, but no effort is made to tackle the problem and reduce the number. She said it appears that the NHS is more committed to their financial objectives, instead of offering a safe patient care environment.

The figures released by NHS Protect looks at crime across the NHS and revealed that from April 2013 to March 2014, the number of staff attacks amounted to 68683 in England, which equals around 7.8 each hour.

This represents an 8.7% increase, compared to the previous year and is the highest figure since the commencement of data collection about 10 years ago. Most of the attacks are by patients. Successful criminal proceedings increased by 13% during the past 12 months.

Richard Hampton, from NHS Protect, said NHS employers have been provided with guidance to aid in preventing attacks and to offer support to affected staff.

There is thousands of NHS staff who will today stage another four-hour strike throughout England. This forms part of the continuing pay dispute.

Paramedic, Richard Bentley, has been bitten and savagely kicked by a patient, and has been threatened with a knife whilst he was giving first aid to a woman. He was also head butted at a party while treating a person who had collapsed due to a seizure. This incident led to his attacker being charged with assault.

According to Richard, who has been working as a paramedic in the north of England, for a decade, this level of violence is not expected at all. He said Saturday nights are the most volatile as alcohol prompts these attacks.

He said they have been called to stabbing incidences where they have been informed the perpetrator has left the scene, only to re-appear and try to prevent them from treating the patient. He said this can be an extremely dangerous job.

Image Credit: Doug


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