NHS staff in Glasgow subjected to thousands of physical and verbal assaults

Despite an ongoing campaign to combat aggression, NHS staff have still faced thousands of assaults.
Despite an ongoing campaign to combat aggression, NHS staff have still faced thousands of assaults.

Healthcare staff in Greater Glasgow and Clyde are being subjected to a shocking level of abuse – suffering more than 5000 physical and verbal assaults in the last 12 months.

Despite a concerted and ongoing campaign to combat aggression, dedicated NHS staff have had to endure an appalling level of attacks.

In the last year, there have been 5,182 reported verbal and physical assaults on staff while at work, often while trying to treat and care for people with life-tthreatening injuries and serious illnesses.

More than half of these assaults – 2857 – were physical attacks on a members of staff by patients.

There were also 1188 threats of violence against staff and 1070 incidents of verbal abuse, as well as cases of sexual harassment and stalking.

These new figures are evidence that incidents of violence and aggression are a serious factor for healthcare workers.

The Health Board hopes that by highlighting the extent of the incidents, it can help reduce and deter such incidents.

Anne MacPherson, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, said: “Despite us introducing a range of measures to protect our staff we are unfortunately still seeing incidents of both physical and verbal abuse.

“In some instances staff have required support from Police Scotland because of the danger to their own and patients’ wellbeing, and that is unacceptable.

“As a Board we are committed to reducing and deterring such incidents as well as ensuring staff are trained to deal with situations when they do arise.

“We must do all we can to protect our staff whilst delivering our services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Our staff should be able to fulfil their duties without fear of assault or abuse.”

Kenneth Fleming, Head of Health and Safety, added: “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has a proactive Violence and Aggression Policy and also a Standards of Behaviour document, which states that our staff are entitled to work free of threats, assaults and intimidation.

“We take any acts of physical or verbal abuse very seriously.

“Where staff are assaulted or abused while at work, whether in our hospitals or in the community, we fully support them and encourage them to pursue their abusers through the criminal justice system.”