Staff at Worthing and St Richard’s hospitals assaulted 136 times

St Richard's Hospital''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-3 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154234
St Richard's Hospital''Picture by Louise Adams C140028-3 Chi St Richard's Hospital ENGSUS00120140113154234

Hospital staff were assaulted more than 130 times last year – new figures have revealed.

A report by NHS Protect shows doctors, nurses, health care assistants at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were assaulted a total of 136 times.

The trust, which runs St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals, recorded 53 per cent of the assaults were due to medical factors.

There have been 67,864 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England in 2014/15 – a reduction of 819 from 68,683 in 2013/2014.

However the report showed the trust did not take any civil, criminal or administrative sanctions against those involved.

Denise Farmer, director of organisational development and leadership at Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Any assault is inexcusable, but an assault on someone who is providing care for patients is simply unacceptable.

“We have recently invested in increased security and strengthened our policy for dealing with behaviours that put our staff at risk: we have a zero tolerance approach to abuse and we do all we can to protect staff as well as sanction those responsible.”

Ms Farmer said sometimes incidents can occur which are related to a patient’s medical condition – adding the staff response will take the situation into consideration.

“Thankfully such cases are relatively rare compared to the hundreds of thousands of treatments and appointments we provide every year and the very positive response we have from most people using our services,” she added.

The figures show there was an average of 20 assaults per 1,000 staff at the trust during the period.

Richard Hampton, head of external engagement and services at NHS Protect, said: “No NHS staff should be physically assaulted and we encourage staff who are victims of violence to report it, so that appropriate action can be taken.

“We urge all health bodies, in all sectors, to take advantage of the joint working agreement with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. They can build local arrangements on this national agreement to ensure criminal assaults are identified and do not go unpunished.”

Criminal sanctions following reported assaults increased slightly in the same 2014-15 period to 1,679, up by 30 from 1,649 in 2013/14.

The 2014 NHS staff survey showed a possible 34 per cent of staff did not report incidents of violence.

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