Violent assaults on NHS staff have risen by 10 per cent in a year – partly driven by frustration with waiting times.
There were up to 200 attacks on health workers a day in 2016/17, figures suggest.
Staff in hospitals with long waiting lists, A&E departments or financial problems were most likely to suffer violence, according to a report by union Unison and the health service journal HSJ.
Violent assaults on NHS staff have risen by 10 per cent in a year – partly driven by frustration with waiting times. File photo
Campaigners warned attack rates could rise as more hospitals fail to meet waiting time targets.
Unison’s Sara Gorton described the figures as ‘worrying’, adding: ‘It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks.’
Attacks on staff in hospitals with emergency departments jumped by 22 per cent, with nearly 19,000 incidents.
And assaults rose by 36 per cent in hospitals where more than one in ten patients waited for at least 18 weeks for elective procedures.
There were up to 200 attacks on health workers a day in 2016/17, figures suggest. File photo
Attacks increased by 23 per cent in a year among hospitals in with a budget deficit of £20million or more, compared to an increase of 1.5 per cent among those with a surplus of at least £1.5million.
Jon Restell, of NHS union Managers In Partnership, told HSJ: ‘Staff shortages make staff vulnerable to attacks from patients, and overworked staff are less able to defuse situations.’
In total, 181 of 244 trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests and provided detail on 56,435 attacks, a rise of 9.7 per cent on the previous year.
Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to all trusts, the total would be around 75,000 attacks – or about 200 a day.