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NHS assault figures

Some 70,555 assaults were recorded by the central body for security and fraud management in the National Health Service, NHS Protect – but most of those assaults were not done out of malice.

Some 52,704 were judged to have had ‘medical factors’; defined by NHS Protect as the perpetrator did not know what they were doing, or did not know what they were doing was wrong due to medical illness, mental ill health, severe learning disability or treatment. That left 17,851 as not involving medicine or illness.

That compares with more than 1.3m NHS staff. The latest annual statistics published on a trust by trust basis by NHS Protect shows wide differences between trusts in how much or indeed whether at all they take such cases to court or to gain some ‘sanction’, whether a fine, caution, or ‘administrative sanction’ such as a ban from premises, a warning letter or an ‘Acceptable Behaviour Agreement’. Some trusts have had none of either for the year 2015-6, and not only those trusts showing a low number – in the single figures – of assaults per thousand staff.

Mersey Care NHS Trust had the most, 105 criminal sanctions. For the statistics in full visit the NHS Protect website.

That website also has similar figures going back to 2004-5, and a five-year, 2010-15 analysis of physical assaults against NHS staff in England; visit

And see the March 2017 print magazine for a talk at the Security TWENTY 17 conference at Nottingham in February, when the speakers included Sean Keown, local security management specialist for East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) NHS Trust, who described how EMAS paramedics and others faced assaults on duty. Sean, also the vice-chairman of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) raised concerns over upcoming changes to the functions of NHS Protect; whereby it’s reverting to its original, counter-fraud only, role, which leaves moot what will become of, and who if anyone will take responsibility for, NHS Protect’s security standards work, including the gathering of assault data.


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