NHS workers under attack at mental health trust

Lancashire Care runs The Harbour in Marton
Lancashire Care runs The Harbour in Marton
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The number of attacks being reported at Lancashire’s mental health NHS trust has rocketed, it was revealed.

In 2016/17, 596 patient-on-staff attacks were logged, alongside 224 patient-on-patient attacks, four staff-on-patient assaults, and one staff-on-staff attack, figures released under Freedom of Information laws showed.

That’s up from 476, 134, two, and two, respectively, in 2013/14, the stats added.

Lancashire Care, which is responsible for mental health care across the county and runs The Habour psychiatric unit in Preston New Road, Marton, (pictured), said the rise reflects a national increase.

It blamed it on a surge in seriously unwell patients, saying: “We have people that are more unwell in the inpatient services than before and present with challenging behaviour.

“Increasingly, more people are cared for in the community. Therefore the people who are admitted to inpatient services are the most unwell, have the highest level of need, and can present with significantly challenging behaviour.”

The trust said most attacks were ‘low level incidents with low or no harm’, but said all are treated seriously. “The trust does not accept aggression and violence to staff,” it said.

Lancashire Care has brought in Safe Wards, an initiative aimed at reducing the number of assaults, and said it was working with patients to ‘talk about how we manage violence and aggression’, and to work out what triggers them.

The trust also said it employs specialists who organise training for employees and works with staff after a violent incident has happened.

In a statement, it said: “Clearly we want to ensure that our services are as safe as possible for our employees and [patients] and we work proactively to reduce violent incidents.

“This is one of our top quality priorities and we have been doing detailed work to ensure that we are implementing evidence-based practice.”