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Reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England for the year 2012-3 rose 5.8 per cent – from 59,744 in 2011-12 to 63,199 in 2012-13. These figures were collated from 341 health bodies across the country.
The central security management body for the National health Service, NHS Protect, reports that the number of criminal sanctions after reported assaults has risen by 201, from 1,257 to 1,458 – a rise of 15.9 per cent. For the stats in full broken down to trust level visit the NHS Protect website.
Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said: “NHS staff should expect to be able to provide care in a safe environment, free from violence and physical assault. NHS Protect urges employers to take firm action in all cases of assault against NHS staff. We urge all NHS staff to report assault and acts of violence against them. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders.”
NHS Protect urges health bodies to:
Take advantage of the joint working agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service and use existing guidance to pursue local arrangements building on this national agreement – to ensure criminal assaults are identified and do not go unpunished.
Seek advice from the enhanced network of NHS Protect’s Area Security Management Specialists (ASMSs). They give guidance to Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) and assist in assessing risks of violence, addressing these through prevention work and pursuing legal action when assaults do occur.
Ensure staff are trained to use available powers to respond decisively to low-level nuisance behaviour before it escalates into violence against staff (these powers are available under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008).
Be aware that NHS Protect has been included in the forthcoming Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill in order to provide new tools for dealing with persistent anti-social behaviour within the NHS.
NHS Protect adds that its new guidance “Meeting needs and reducing distress – Guidance on the prevention and management of clinically related challenging behaviour in NHS settings” is to be launched shortly and aims to provide NHS staff with the tools to de-escalate and reduce challenging behaviour within the National Health.
For more on NHS Protect visit http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Protect.aspx
For a breakdown of the figures, and tables showing the number of reported physical assaults on NHS staff in England in each year since 2002-3, visit http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/3645.aspx
About NHS Protect
It has some functions of the former NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS). NHS Protect provides policy and operational guidance relating to the management of security within the NHS in England. It strives to ensure permanent improvements are made to provide the best protection for NHS staff and property. NHS Protect has a national syllabus for conflict resolution training aimed at all frontline NHS staff. It gives staff the skills to recognise and defuse potentially violent situations. Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) are in place in health bodies across England to investigate security breaches, along with the police, and implement new systems to better protect NHS staff and property. All reported incidents of violence against staff are reported to the LSMS as well as the police. LSMSs receive training in areas such as witness interviewing and a background in law, and are supported nationally by NHS Protect.