Figures released for reported physical assaults against NHS staff

Friday, 29 November, 2013

NHS Protect have released the 2012-13 figures for reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England. These figures were collated from 341 health bodies across the country.

The number of criminal sanctions following reported assaults has risen by 201, from 1,257 to 1,458 – a rise of 15.9%. Overall, there was a rise of 5.8% in total reported assaults from 59,744 in 2011/12 to 63,199 in 2012/13.

Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said today:

“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 & Policing Bill in order to provide new tools for dealing with persistent anti-social behaviour within the NHS.
  • Note that NHS Protect’s 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 NHS.

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