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Rise in community nurse assaults

A Royal College of Nursing (RCN) study shows that more than one in three nurses working alone in the community have been attacked or abused in the last two years.

The survey also found that more than half (52%) think the threat of violence or harassment has risen over the same period.

A total of 6% have been physically assaulted, but around one in 10 of those attacks are never reported.

A nurse in Northern Ireland recalled visiting a home set deep in a forest and having to walk along a hallway filled with guns, knives and machetes.

Another sat down with a patient who admitted he was awaiting trial for strangling his wife.

The results come as the RCN launches its "You're not alone" campaign calling on the government to improve measures to protect people working alone.

Back in March 2005, former Health Secretary John Reid championed a new device that allows NHS workers to secretly raise the alarm if they are threatened.

But the RCN said just 3% of lone workers questioned have been given the Identicom system.

RCN General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said: "Attacks on nurses, whether physical or verbal, are completely unacceptable, and the results of this survey are extremely disappointing.

"The change from care based in hospitals to the community will mean more and more nurses working alone, caring for patients in their homes and away from other staff.

"We need to make sure that nurses working alone are properly protected, fully supported and feel secure, that's why we are launching this campaign."

Royal College of Nursing

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