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Attacks on NHS staff on rise

The National Health Service is gaining more sanctions against people who attack NHS staff – but the number of attacks has risen too. NHS Protect has released the latest annual, 2013-14 figures for reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England.

These figures were collated from 266 health bodies across the country. The number of criminal sanctions following reported assaults has risen by 191, or 13.1 per cent, from 1458 to 1649. Overall, there was a rise of 8.7pc in total reported assaults from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14.

Richard Hampton, Head of External Engagement and Services at NHS Protect, said: “No NHS staff should be physically assaulted and we encourage staff who are victims of violence to press charges against assailants. Those who work in the NHS have the right to provide care in a safe environment. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders.”

NHS Protect, as the central body for counter-fraud and security management in the National health Service, has urged health bodies to:

Note that NHS Protect´s guidance “Meeting needs and reducing distress – Guidance on the prevention and management of clinically related challenging behaviour in NHS settings” was launched in December 2013 and provides NHS staff with the tools to de-escalate and reduce challenging behaviour within the NHS.

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 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 Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014, as featured in the December print issue of Professional Security magazine, to provide new tools for dealing with persistent anti-social behaviour in the NHS.

For the figures in detail visit the NHS Protect website.


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