Shropshire Star

Scale of violence facing hospital staff revealed

Hospital staff have been victims of violence or aggression 111 times over the past year.

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The extent of the violence faced by health workers at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital Telford, has been revealed in a report to be considered by the board of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust today.

It tells how nurses have been hit, touched inappropriately, and subjected to racist and anti-social abuse while trying to do their jobs.

In one incident a patient barricaded himself in a theatre store room that had been inadvertently left open and unattended.

The man then ransacked the store room and contents before smashing the store room window and escaping from the hospital.

Another saw aggressive behaviour from a man in the A&E waiting room at PRH and resulted in a glazed window panel on the external waiting room door being kicked in and smashed.

The hospitals have also faced a persistent nuisance from some patients with one man making he made 98 telephone call attempts at PRH in just 55 minutes.

Two incidents also involved staff-on-staff altercations.

Despite the shocking nature of attacks on health workers there has been a fall in the number of reported incidents of intentional violence and aggression at the hospitals in the past eight years.

The 2017/18 figure of 111 is 58 per cent less than the 265 incidents reported in 2009/10.

The trust has also reported 310 incidents of violence or aggression involving patients whose underlying medical condition – such as dementia – means that they are not held responsible for the actions.

Of the reported 111 intentional violence and aggression incidents in 2017-18, 59 took place at RSH and 52 at PRH.

The report to be considered by the trust's board states: "30 involved physical contact (however minor or inconsequential), of these 24 were on staff (22 of these were carried out by patients/public, two involved staff on staff). The other six were by patients or relatives (public) on the same.

"None of the intentional physical assault incidents involving Trust staff during 2017-18 resulted in serious injury or triggered reporting to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

"There were 81 intentional non-physical incidents – incidents of verbal abuse, threatening or other anti-social behaviour by patients, relatives or public, 74 of these were made towards staff and the other seven towards other patients, relatives or public."

The paper outlines how there are a number of methods to support potential prosecutions of those involved in attacks on staff.

It states: "The trust supports all police and court actions when taken and every effort is made to enable partnership working and achieve rightful sanction and redress for unacceptable behaviour. This often includes provision of supporting CCTV, Body Worn Video (BWV) recordings or other documentary evidence."