Increase in number of assaults of SWASFT staff

Monday, 10 February, 2014

South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) is continuing to take a zero tolerance approach to any form of abuse on its staff after having seen an increase in the number of reported assaults throughout the past 12-months.
Between February 1st 2013 and 31st January 2014 there have been 104 reports of physical abuse to front line crews. The type of injuries staff have received range from cuts and bruising and sprains through to the more serious injuries such as dislocations and fractures.

Out of these 104 reported incidents, 73 have been reported to the police and in 22 cases the patient was arrested. In cases that have resulted in a successful prosecution the sanctions have ranged from a suspended sentence, community service orders, restorative orders and fines. There are also a number of more serious cases still awaiting a court date.

Anne Payne, Health, Safety and Security Manager with SWASFT, said: “All reports of violence and aggression towards crews are taken seriously. Where there is sufficient evidence the Trust place a warning marker on the patient’s address and send a letter to the patient regarding their behaviour and the consequences should their behaviour continue.”

Since February 1st 2013 187 letters have been sent out to patients who have been verbally abusive or who have physically assaulted crews. Only two patients have reoffended and the warning marker placed on their property has been upgraded to include “Police Attendance Advised.”

Ken Wenman, Chief Executive of SWASFT, added: “The Trust takes incidents of assaults on staff extremely seriously and any abuse, verbal or physical, will not be tolerated. Every member of Trust staff plays a vital role in serving the community by helping to deliver the right care in the right place at the right time and staff should be able to fulfill their life-saving role without fear of abuse or assault.”

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