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Hospital staff attacked ‘twice a day’

ASSAULTS: Queen Elizabeth Hospital is run by the UHB Trust

HOSPITAL STAFF in Birmingham are suffering an average of two assaults a day - as numbers of physical attacks hit a record high, the Birmingham Mail reports.

Figures obtained by Birmingham Live show 838 physical assaults against staff were reported at Birmingham hospital trusts in 2017/18.

That was up from 811 in 2016/17 and just 505 in 2010/11, when published figures began.

Bodies that represent hospital staff described the rising numbers as “worrying”. Staff were injured 367 times as a result of assaults in 2017/18.

The figures, released following Freedom of Information requests, show 561 assaults at University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) in 2017/18, 217 at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals, and 60 at Birmingham Women and Children’s Hospital NHS Trust.

Staff at UHB and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals were both more likely to be assaulted than the national average.

Dame Donna Kinnair, acting chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “It’s extremely worrying to find out that the number of attacks on hospital staff is relentlessly rising again, after a small reduction two years ago.”

“The fact that assaults on staff have increased by 70% since 2010 shows that Ministers, the NHS and individual employers have still not got a grip on this problem.

“Workplace violence for anyone working on the frontline is unacceptable - as a nurse myself, I’ve seen and experienced situations that have made me feel unsafe or under threat.”

Dr Rob Harwood, BMA consultants committee chair, said: “The BMA has long been concerned about the risk and impact of violence on NHS staff, and these figures show a worrying rise in attacks taking place against people doing their utmost to provide high-quality care to patients in an under-pressure health service.

“In an NHS blighted with rising workloads, long wait times, and doctors and colleagues in chronically short-staffed wards under increasing pressure to deliver, there is a greater risk that patients and their loved ones become understandably frustrated. However, there is no excuse for this frustration to be taken out on staff who are simply trying to help.

“Violence against staff is not only physically and mentally harmful for the individuals targeted, but it can be costly for an already stretched NHS, as hospitals and other providers are forced to pay for security services, investigations and cover for sick leave, and therefore there must be decisive action to tackle this problem and provide quality support to those who find themselves the victims of physical abuse.”

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