NHS staff report rise in attacksFri 02 Oct, 2009
Daily Mail | by JENNY HOPE
NHS staff: 13 per cent rise in attacks
Violence against NHS staff has risen sharply despite a campaign to stem the level of abuse, says a report.
There were 95,000 physical and verbal assaults last year by patients and their families. Nurses are four times more likely to suffer an attack than most other workers - second only to the police and security services, says the report by the Public Accounts Committee.
There was a 13 per cent rise in attacks despite a Government target to cut assaults by 20 per cent.
Only one in five NHS trusts met the target and the report questions whether a new target of reducing aggression by 30 per cent this year can be met. As well as causing injury and distress, the violence can have knock-on consequences, says the report.
It causes stress and sickness absence, lower morale and productivity and problems in retention of staff and recruitment.
The highest levels of violence are reported by staff working in mental health and learning disability units. Ambulance staff and accident and emergency departments also suffer high levels.
The report calls for a more comprehensive reporting system, ' realistic targets' for reducing aggression and more research into effective tactics.
As the report was released, it was announced that front-line staff are to be taught how to deal with violence and aggression in one of the largest NHS training exercises.
The 'conflict resolution training' will begin early next year, teaching staff how to recognise the warning signs of a violent situation and how to defuse it. The programme will see more than 100,000 staff being trained each year.
Thousands of experienced nurses are taking early retirement because they feel they are not valued, says a report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation think tank.
More than 75,000 NHS nurses are eligible for early retirement and almost 10,000 are quitting each year.