Pres­sure on hospital trusts cre­ates ‘hos­tile en­vi­ron­ments’ and a rise in at­tacks

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

STAFF SHORT­AGES across the NHS have cre­ated “hos­tile en­vi­ron­ments” that have led to a rise in phys­i­cal as­saults on health work­ers, a union has said.

Re­search for Uni­son re­vealed a near-10 per cent rise in at­tacks in the NHS in Eng­land last year, with a “stag­ger­ing” 21 per cent in­crease in hos­pi­tals with an A&E de­part­ment.

There were 56,435 as­saults in 2016/17 com­pared with 51,447 the pre­vi­ous year in NHS trusts which re­sponded to a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest sub­mit­ted by health mag­a­zine HSJ on be­half of the union. Trusts treat­ing fewer pa­tients within 18 weeks of re­fer­ral saw the big­gest in­crease in as­saults, as did those strug­gling with fi­nan­cial deficits.

The fig­ures come two weeks af­ter a spe­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion by

The York­shire Post, fo­cus­ing on at­tacks on blue-light work­ers, showed al­most 2,000 at­tacks on med­i­cal staff in York­shire’s hos­pi­tals last year, and 1,629 phys­i­cal and ver­bal at­tacks on York­shire Am­bu­lance Ser­vice staff in 2016 and 2017. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion came ahead of the third read­ing of the As­saults on Emer­gency Work­ers Bill, due next Fri­day, which aims to in­tro­duce harsher pu­n­ish­ments for per­pe­tra­tors.

Uni­son head of health Sara Gor­ton said: “Across the en­tire NHS, staff short­ages are harm­ing pa­tient care and help­ing to create a hos­tile en­vi­ron­ment where health work­ers are in­creas­ingly at risk of be­ing as­saulted. It’s no ac­ci­dent that trusts where the pres­sures seem the most ex­treme have seen the steep­est rise in the num­ber of at­tacks.”

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