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NHS assault stats

Some 67,864 reported physical assaults were reported against NHS staff in England in 2014-15; that’s a small reduction of 819 from the 68,683 in 2013-14. Those figures for physical assaults in the NHS were provided by all NHS trusts in England and collated by the security management body for the National Health Service, NHS Protect.

Criminal sanctions after reported assaults increased slightly in the same 2014-15 period to 1679 (up by 30 from 1,649 in 2013-14) and have increased noticeably since the pre-2004 period, according to NHS Protect. The body adds that 2014-15 is also the first year that civil and administrative sanctions have been reported (there were 1,077).

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 report it, so that appropriate action can be taken. While it is encouraging to see the total figure going in the right direction there is no room for complacency after this small reduction in reported assaults. We urge all health bodies, in all sectors, to take advantage of the joint working agreement with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. They can build local arrangements on this national agreement to ensure criminal assaults are identified and do not go unpunished.”

The 2014 NHS staff survey showed a possible 34 per cent non-reporting of incidents of violence (albeit a lower percentage than the previous year), so it is reasonable to assume some under-reporting of physical assaults, as NHS Protect puts it.

Mr Hampton spoke of what will be done specifically to better protect staff in NHS mental health settings: a new partnership protocol by NHS Protect, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will shortly be launched. He said: “It is designed to help the NHS, police and CPS work together to respond to incidents of crime, investigate and take appropriate cases forward for prosecution in this sector.”

NHS Protect has been included in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 with powers to apply for civil injunctions on behalf of NHS health bodies for the purpose of preventing individuals from engaging in anti-social behavior on NHS premises.


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