Concern over rise in violence against NHS staff

Whiston Hospital 'Ann Marr chief executive St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust outside the new premises.
Whiston Hospital 'Ann Marr chief executive St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust outside the new premises.
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THE shocking scale of violence perpetrated against NHS staff in St Helens has been revealed in a damning report.

Records show there were 588 assaults on health workers across the borough over the past 12 months.

That’s a substantial increase of 178 attacks compared to the previous year.

The vast majority of attacks were carried out on staff working for the Five Borough Partnership, which cares for patients with mental health issues.

However, despite the increasing number sanction against patients remain low.

Nationally, sanctions taken against those who assault NHS staff have increased by almost a quarter on last year, according to the figures released by NHS Protect.

St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust recorded 32 attacks on staff, while Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust said their workers were assaulted on 10 occasion during the period between April 2010 and 2011.

Nationally, there were 18,060 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England. This is a 19 per cent decrease on the figure for 2009-10, which was 22,381.

A spokeswoman for the Five Boroughs Partnership, which treated patients suffering from mental health issues, said: “As a mental health service provider, the Trust works hard to encourage a culture of reporting incidents and to improve the way in which they are recorded.

“We do not tolerate acts of violence against our staff, who we support in taking reasonable steps to manage the risk of incidents effectively. We also recognise our responsibility as an employer to follow up reports of violence where appropriate.”

No one from Halton and St Helens Primary Care Trust or St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust were available for comment.

Richard Hampton, local support and development services manager at NHS Protect, said: “Staff committed to providing our national health service should never be expected to suffer violence at work and it will not be tolerated.

“NHS Protect urges employers to take firm action in all cases of assault against NHS staff.”