NHS staff abuse story head

Don’t put more pressure on NHS staff

At last additional protection at work for front line NHS staff.

Shocking figures released recently show the true extent of violence against NHS staff. 10,000 members of NHS staff have reported being attacked at work. Some NHS staff are so concerned that they have taken to wearing body cameras.

The BBC invited me on to Lembit Opik’s programme on Radio Kent to voice my opinions on the situation and counter suggestions that NHS staff should refuse treatment to those who appeared intoxicated in A&E departments.

Cuts creating a tinderbox

Surprisingly the NHS body charged with dealing with this matter, NHS Protect was abolished by the Government last year. However the newly reached agreement for a fast track court approach between the NHS, the police and the CPS is to be welcomed.

The major unions representing employers in the NHS, such as RCN, Unison and the HCSA are warning that, the increasing pressures in hospitals, such as patients on trolley’s in the corridor, is creating an ‘unfit’ environment and that leads to tension, hostility and ultimately violence.

The impact on staff is terrible. Most staff say they are fearful. An attack, verbal or physical can lead to physical injury, sick leave and long term stress. The impact can be career ending and cannot be underestimated. The employer, the NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups have a duty of care towards all staff to ensure a safe working environment.

An attack on any worker, whilst they are at work, is deemed an ‘aggravated’ feature in law. I’m sure this measure will encourage staff to report these crimes, knowing that their employers, the police, and the CPS have ‘got their back’.

I have today written to Sue Chandler, Chair of HOSC (Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee) and Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner to seek their assurance that they have processes in place to deal with any attacks against NHS staff.

I’ve asked the following questions:

  • Can I ask what steps are being taken across Kent to ensure this is put into practical use?
  • Are Trusts and CCGs being made aware?
  • Are there sufficient police staff to support our NHS staff ?
  • Are we sighted on the data? Do we know when are where these attacks occur. I would appreciate a detailed breakdown please.