Birmingham & Black Country

Patient attacks on NHS staff rise is "concerning"

NHS attacks
Image caption More than 2,000 health service staff have been attacked in West Midlands hospitals in the last year

More than 2,000 health service staff have been assaulted by patients in the West Midlands during 2012/13, new figures reveal.

The figures, released by NHS Protect, show an increase on the 1,900 patient assaults on health service staff in the region during 2011/12.

Nursing union the Royal College of Nursing said the figures were "concerning".

It said employers "must do more" to prevent the attacks.

'No excuse'

NHS Protect, which was set up to identify and tackle crime across the health service, said that national figures of assaults on staff during the last year had topped 60,000 for the first time in eight years.

In many cases, the assaults were "medically related", which can include patients lashing out at staff after coming out of anaesthetic, or assaults from elderly dementia patients.

Their figures show that 2,486 members of medical staff were assaulted between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013, across Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Solihull's NHS Foundation Trusts, mental health hospitals, PCTs and ambulance services.

Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said: "We are concerned that frontline staff might be at greater risk because of additional pressures on services, leading to growing frustrations from some patients.

"But there is no excuse for taking these frustrations out on hard-working, frontline staff.

"Employers must create environments where staff do not feel threatened by assault."

A spokeswoman for Birmingham Women's Hospital said that counselling was available to workers and that the hospital's priority is to take a "zero tolerance stance" against violence towards staff.

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