Rise in attacks on Newcastle NHS staff 'unacceptable'

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RVIImage source, NCJ Media
Image caption,
There has been a rise on attacks on staff at the Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Freeman Hospital

There has been a rise in what health bosses say are "abhorrent" attacks on NHS workers in Newcastle.

Latest figures show there were 914 incidents of physical or verbal assaults by patients, relatives or visitors in the 12 months to 30 June - up 17% on pre-pandemic times.

Figures show there was particularly a rise in assaults on A&E staff.

A meeting of the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust's board of directors was told it was "totally unacceptable".

The trust oversees the Royal Victoria Infirmary and the Freeman Hospital.

'Unwavering commitment'

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Angela O'Brien, Newcastle Hospitals' director of quality and effectiveness, said: "A lot of that has been alcohol related and the impact socially of isolation and the increase in drug addiction and alcohol-related admissions to emergency department, which the security staff have found quite challenging.

"We have tried to support them in every way we can in terms of conflict resolution, de-escalation techniques, and restraint training."

Councillor John-Paul Stephenson, Newcastle City Council's cabinet member for public health and neighbourhoods, said: "Any act of violence or aggression towards a health worker is abhorrent and must be stamped out immediately.

"Since the start of the pandemic every member of staff in our hospitals has been on the front line in the battle against the virus and shown incredible courage and unwavering commitment to each and every resident in Newcastle.

"The fact that people see fit to be violent or abusive towards them is unacceptable."

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