Attacks on NHS staff increase by a quarter

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
Share this article

Attacks on NHS staff in the last five years have rocketed by a quarter, latest shock figures reveal.

The most recent statistics from Wigan bear out just how dangerous working on frontline health services can sometimes be with 113 members of Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation employees attacked in 2014/15.

But while it will be of little comfort to the victims, the risk of being assaulted at one of the borough’s hospitals is much lower than in some parts of the country.

WWL last year employed 4,841 staff which meant an avearge of 23 staff per thousand assaulted: well below the national average of 52.

However the same assessments from NHS Protect showed that the 5 Boroughs Partnership Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services in Wigan, Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington, recorded well over the national avearge with 284 per 1,000 members of staff assaulted.

In total 1,007 of 5 Boroughs’ staff were assaulted, but all but five of them involved a medical reason.

Meanwhile Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Trust, which provides health services across the same area, saw only 15 assaults on staff in total - the equivalent of five per 1,000.

Nationally though the situation has been deteriorating over the last five years.

The number of assaults increased to 67,874 in 2014-15 from 54,758 assaults in 2008-9 - an increase of more than 13,000.

Doctors, nurses and other NHS workers were subjected to an average of 186 violent attacks every day, according to NHS Business Services Authority statistics, reported by the Daily Mirror.

The Royal College of Nursing’s senior employment relations advisor Kim Sunley told the newspaper: “Nobody should be assaulted or intimidated whilst going about their daily work.

“The figures are alarming and yet more evidence of the overwhelming pressures on the NHS.”

Over the last 10 years, the figures show that there have been almost 600,000 physical attacks on NHS staff. But the number of assaults recorded in 2014-15 fell slightly compared with the previous year.