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Increase in assaults on NHS staff

New figures have shown that almost 56,000 NHS staff were victims of assault last year – a slight increase on the previous year’s figure.

Data from the NHS Security Management Service showed that the total number of attacks on workers in 2007/08 was 55,993, a rise of 284 on the figure for 2006/07.

Mental health trusts saw the largest number of attacks, with 39,934, while 3,607 took place in primary care trusts – 162 more than the previous year.

The biggest rise in the number of attacks was against staff working in NHS acute and foundation trusts, with 10,983 assaults in these trusts in 2007/08, up 1,298 on the previous year.

Dermid McCausland, managing director of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service, said: “We firmly believe this rise demonstrates a shift in culture among staff who are saying they will not accept violence as part of the job and are demonstrating this by reporting rather than an actual increase in assaults.

“Local Security Management Specialists working with their trusts are actively encouraging staff to report.”

Although thousands of attacks took place in mental health and learning disability trusts, total figures were down 1,635 on the previous year.

Copyright Press Association 2008

NHS Security Management Service