Rise in assaults on NHS staff in Leeds

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NHS chiefs have condemned a significant rise in assaults against health staff.

Official figures reveal more than 68,000 staff were verbally or physically assaulted in 2013-14 in England, up nine per cent.

There were 217 assaults on staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust in 2013-14, up 11 per cent. Thirteen people faced criminal sanctions as a result.

There were 1,275 assaults on staff at the Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs mental health services in Leeds and parts of North Yorkshire, down 15 per cent. Fourteen offenders were given sanctions.

At the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs health services in Wakefield and Dewsbury, there were 118 assaults, up 30 per cent, but none led to sanctions.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff faced 110 attacks across the region, an increase of 62 per cent. Some 25 people faced sanctions, the highest rate in Yorkshire. Overall in England, 1,650 people were handed penalties, up 13 per cent.

Ian Horner, local security management specialist for the ambulance service, said the number of assaults on its staff was “shocking”.

He said: “Any attacks on our staff, both verbal and physical, are completely unacceptable. We operate a zero tolerance policy towards violent and aggressive behaviour and action will be taken against those who assault our staff. It is appalling that ambulance service staff who do a difficult job, often in challenging circumstances, can be physically and verbally attacked as they try to save lives.”

Richard Hampton, of NHS Protect, said: “No NHS staff should be physically assaulted and we encourage staff who are victims of violence to press charges against assailants. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders.”

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