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Union condemns staff attack figures

A nursing union has hit out at the number of assaults on NHS staff as figures show there were more than 55,700 incidents against workers last year.

But while this is 2,986 fewer than in 2005-06, and 4,676 fewer than in 2004-05, Unison still said the statistics are "shameful".

And this is compounded by the fact that there were 41,569 assaults on mental health and learning disabilities workers in 2006-07, an increase of 224 on the previous year.

Unison head of health, Karen Jennings, said: "It is shameful that nurses, paramedics and other NHS staff face the threat of violence at work on an almost daily basis.

"No member of staff should expect to be assaulted for coming into work and caring for the public.

"We welcome the small reduction in attacks on NHS staff, but 55,700 assaults is still 55,700 too many.

"These figures only include physical assaults and those that have been reported. We know that many staff face verbal abuse and aggression and many attacks still go unreported, so the real figure is much higher.

"If a national system for recording all assaults on NHS staff was implemented, the results, though shocking, would reveal the full extent of the problem.

"As it is, there are startling variations between trusts, even among those with similar catchment areas. This complacency needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency."


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