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Increase in violence towards NHS staff

PUBLISHED: 11:22 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 12:11 03 July 2010

Violence against Norfolk NHS staff, including at the James Paget Hospital, has risen.

But NHS bosses say that some of the increase has been the result of tough action against perpetrators which means staff are more willing to report attacks.

Violence against Norfolk NHS staff, including at the James Paget Hospital, has risen.

But NHS bosses say that some of the increase has been the result of tough action against perpetrators which means staff are more willing to report attacks.

Across England there were 55,993 reported physical assaults in 2007-8, an increase of 284 against the previous year.

In Norfolk, there were sharp rises in assaults on staff at NHS Norfolk, including community hospitals and surgeries, and at the James Paget.

Assaults nearly doubled in both cases, with 208 assaults on NHS Norfolk staff, up from 107 the previous year, and 39 at the JPH, up from 20 the previous year.

Jonathan Cook, director of corporate services for NHS Norfolk, said this was because previous figures were inaccurate. He said: “Although we are seeing this rise, it is a result of having much better reporting systems in place, to keep a tight watch on how our staff are being treated.”

Andrew Fox, deputy director of nursing and patient services at the JPH said the increase was due to improved reporting. “Close monitoring of reports provides us with important information we can work with to identify what we can do to increase the safety of our staff and where we can work with partners to minimise risk.”

There were 84 assaults on East of England Ambulance Service staff, up from 77 the previous year. Director of operations Oskan Edwardson said: “We would ask those individuals to think about the consequences of their actions when they assault an ambulance crew - if it takes a member of staff out of work and means fewer ambulances on the road, it could lead to an innocent person losing their life.”

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, there were 51 reported assaults, up from 46 the previous year. Gary Morris, the hospital's security management specialist, said: “We will always take the appropriate action against anyone who assaults or verbally abuses a member of our staff. Our staff have seen the result of this policy over recent months, leading to a number of successful prosecutions. As a result they are now reporting more incidents.”

NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney reported one of the lowest assault rates in the country, with just four assaults on staff, the same as last year.

Although mental health trusts have the highest assault rates nationally and locally, there was a fall this year. At Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Trust, the number of assaults fell from 630 to 614. There was also a fall at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, where the number fell from 76 to 63. There were 86 assaults at the West Suffolk Hospital, the same as the previous year.


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