Calls for ‘zero tol­er­ance’after statistics revealed for hos­pi­tal

East Kilbride News - - NEWS - An­drea O’Neill

Hairmyres Hos­pi­tal staff have been sub­jected to vi­o­lence 605 times over the last three years while in the line of duty.

The News ob­tained fig­ures from NHS La­nark­shire and Po­lice Scot­land un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act which show staff at the East Kil­bride hos­pi­tal have fallen vic­tim to as­saults, tele­phone abuse, threat­en­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­iour and ver­bal abuse whilst car­ing for pa­tients.

At­tacks on staff, in­clud­ing emer­gency work­ers, vary from com­mon as­saults and se­ri­ous as­saults to as­saults with an of­fen­sive weapon and in­clude ser­vices within the hos­pi­tal, such as men­tal health ser­vices, old age psy­chi­a­try and in­ten­sive psy­chi­atric units.

How­ever, the fig­ures show there has been a 27 per cent drop in the to­tal num­ber of at­tacks since 2014.

Last year there were 83 as­saults on staff by pa­tients and one as­sault on staff listed as ‘by other’ – a 24 per cent drop from the pre­vi­ous year.

A bro­ken bot­tle was used in two sep­a­rate weapon at­tacks on hos­pi­tal work­ers in 2016.

Threat­en­ing and in­tim­i­dat­ing be­hav­iour dropped by 20 per cent from 50 to 40 in­ci­dents in 2014 and 2015 but rose by 7.5 per cent last year.

Staff at the acute hos­pi­tal re­peat­edly found them­selves on the re­ceiv­ing end of ver­bal abuse with 160 re­ports listed last year.

How­ever, fig­ures for Hairmyres have more than halved in the last two years (59 per cent).

Of the three acute hos­pi­tals in La­nark­shire, Wishaw Gen­eral has seen the high­est num­ber of in­ci­dents with 1044 recorded.

In one in­ci­dent in 2014, a staff mem­ber was at­tacked with a knife.

There have been 568 re­ports of vi­o­lence at Mon­k­lands Hos­pi­tal over the last three years.

A to­tal of 2217 in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence took place against hos­pi­tal work­ers in La­nark­shire hos­pi­tals be­tween 2014 and 2016 – 756 last year (an in­crease of five per cent year on year).

And last year alone there were 6583 in­ci­dents of vi­o­lence across the whole of Scot­land.

Re­spond­ing to the fig­ures, Dr Lisa Cameron, MP for East Kil­bride, Strathaven and Les­ma­hagow, called for “zero tol­er­ance”.

“We must have zero tol­er­ance re­gard­ing at­tacks on our NHS and emer­gency staff,” she said.

“Whilst I wel­come that the num­ber of in­ci­dents have re­duced sig­nif­i­cantly at Hairmyres Hos­pi­tal over the past two years, one as­sault is one too many. Fur­ther work must clearly be done on vi­o­lence re­duc­tion and staff se­cu­rity.

“We must tackle it col­lec­tively in­volv­ing the com­mu­nity and I plan to meet with NHS staff, man­age­ment and the po­lice to give them my full support in do­ing so. I have al­ready con­tacted NHS La­nark­shire in re­la­tion to the num­ber of as­saults on staff.

“I thank the East Kil­bride News for bring­ing this im­por­tant is­sue to the fore.”

East Kil­bride MSP Linda Fabi­ani said: “Our NHS staff work in­cred­i­bly hard in a high-pres­sure en­vi­ron­ment and it is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able for them to be sub­ject to any type of ag­gres­sion or vi­o­lence as they go about their work.

“I note that the over­all num­ber of as­saults against NHS staff in our three ma­jor hos­pi­tals has de­creased from three years ago, particularly at Hairmyres – in fact, Hairmyres is the only hos­pi­tal in La­nark­shire to have seen a de­crease in these in­ci­dents.

“It’s still not an ac­cept­able level, though, and the full force of the law should be ap­plied when deal­ing with the per­pe­tra­tors.”

In a state­ment, the health board said: “NHS La­nark­shire con­tin­u­ally works in part­ner­ship with lo­cal po­lice in the man­age­ment of ag­gres­sive and vi­o­lent in­di­vid­u­als. Train­ing is com­pul­sory for NHS La­nark­shire staff to pro­vide staff with the skills needed to as­sist in the pre­ven­tion, pre­dic­tion and man­age­ment of vi­o­lence and ag­gres­sion.

“Staff are ac­tively en­cour­aged to re­port in­ci­dents. The re­ported in­for­ma­tion is con­tin­u­ally be­ing used to in­form fu­ture ac­tions. All in­ci­dents are recorded on our elec­tronic in­ci­dent re­port­ing sys­tem, DATIX. Re­vised sub­cat­e­gory op­tions were im­ple­mented from Fe­bru­ary 1, 2014. This along with im­proved re­port­ing has re­sulted in in­creased num­bers over ear­lier years.”

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