Shocking toll of attacks on Leeds health services workers

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NHS STAFF in Leeds’s main hospitals were assualted hundreds of times last year, according to new figures.

Data from NHS Protect shows there were 63,199 reported assaults in 2012/13 across England, up from 59,744 in 2011/12.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust recorded one of the highest figures for assaults on staff employed at trust providing mental health services. But the vast majority of the total figure of 1,506 involved patients who were unwell at the time.

However, there were 195 assaults against staff at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, up from 145, which runs St James’s Hospital, Seacroft Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary.

The number of criminal sanctions against people as a result of assaulting staff across the country has risen 16 per cent increase.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “Any physical or verbal abuse against NHS staff is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated. It is outrageous that there have been so many physical assaults against NHS staff, but better awareness among health professionals will help them feel able to speak out and stop it happening.”

A spokeswoman for the Leeds and York Trust said it “takes every single assault against staff very seriously and we ensure that our staff are trained in how to report these types of incidents and the appropriate action to take.

“As a provider of specialist mental health and learning disability services, unfortunately, with the nature of problems people present with, a small proportion of cases can result in challenging behaviour and assaults being reported.

“Thankfully, only five incidents have resulted in staff being absent from work for three days or more which we have reported to the Health & Safety Executive as required.”

Unison head of health, Christina McAnea, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that every day more than 173 NHS workers are physically assaulted and that only one in 40 cases results in a criminal sanction.

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