Hospi­tal staff: shock as­saults

The Scarborough Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - Ex­clu­sive by Poppy Kennedy poppy.kenendy@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @Re­porterPoppy

Phys­i­cal as­saults on med­i­cal staff at Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal have al­most tre­bled in re­cent years, ex­clu­sive fig­ures re­veal.

More than 150 re­ports of abuse have been filed at the hospi­tal in the past three years, in­clud­ing six at­tacks by pa­tients with a weapon on hospi­tal staff – and some staff faced ver­bal abuse from col­leagues.

The fig­ures, ob­tained by The Scar­bor­ough News from

York Teach­ing Hospi­tal NHS Foun­da­tion Trust, re­veal there were al­most four times more cases of staff on staff ver­bal abuse recorded at Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal than there were at York Hospi­tal be­tween April 2016 and March 2017.

A for­mer mem­ber of staff at Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal said: “I have be­come aware that staff sick­ness ab­sence has be­come a se­ri­ous prob­lem with staff suf­fer­ing from stress.

“One mem­ber of staff told me that GPs in Scar­bor­ough now con­sider staff be­ing stressed has reached epi­demic lev­els. This can­not be good for pa­tients or the fi­nan­cial state as agency and locum staff cost far more.”

Fig­ures show that more recorded re­ports of ver­bal abuse to­wards staff came from other staff mem­bers than pa­tients and rel­a­tives com­bined last year. The only record­ing of phys­i­cal as­sault or vi­o­lence to­wards staff by a fel­low staff mem­ber since 2014 was recorded last year at Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal.

Abuse to­wards med­i­cal staff, such as doc­tors and nurses, is also on the rise.

There were 152 in­ci­dents of abuse recorded in the past three years – with re­ports in­creas­ing 86% from 2014/15 to 2016/17.

Staff across the foun­da­tion trust’s ser­vices, in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals in Scar­bor­ough, York and Bridling­ton and com­mu­nity ser­vices, faced phys­i­cal as­sault or vi­o­lence al­most twice a week.

As the shock­ing fig­ures re­veal, abu­sive at­tacks are be­com­ing more vi­o­lent as phys­i­cal as­saults or vi­o­lence has risen 170% since 2014/15.

Across the trust’s ser­vices, 19 vi­o­lent pa­tients have at­tacked staff with a weapon in the past three years – six were recorded at Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal.

While an in­ci­dent of abuse was recorded al­most every day across the ser­vices last year.

In one case, an Asian doc­tor was the sub­ject of racial abuse, which led to two peo­ple be­ing ar­rested with one be­ing charged for us­ing racial slurs. Both were fined at Scar­bor­ough Mag­is­trates’ Court.

A spokesper­son for York Teach­ing Hospi­tal NHS Foun­da­tion Trust said: “The in­crease in rates of abuse and as­sault is due to more ac­cu­rate re­port­ing of in­ci­dents by staff.

“The Trust has en­cour­aged staff to recog­nise the sig­nif­i­cance of in­ci­dents of abuse and made it eas­ier for them to report these in­ter­nally.

“Se­cu­rity on our hospi­tal sites is a pri­or­ity for the Trust, and any in­ci­dent of vi­o­lence or ag­gres­sion against our staff is one too many.

“We aim to pro­vide a safe and se­cure place for staff, vis­i­tors and pa­tients.

“Since ac­quir­ing Scar­bor­ough Hospi­tal in 2012 we have in­tro­duced on­site se­cu­rity and there are now three se­cu­rity guards who cover the site 24 hours a day.

“The hospi­tal is also cov­ered by CCTV.

“Since the in­tro­duc­tion of on­site se­cu­rity, staff have told us that they feel safer at work and are more con­fi­dent in re­port­ing any con­cerns to the se­cu­rity team.”

‘Se­cu­rity on our hospi­tal sites is a pri­or­ity for the Trust, and any in­ci­dent of vi­o­lence or ag­gres­sion against our staff is one too many’

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