'NHS staff aren't punchbags': as many as six workers a day attacked in Suffolk by patients

'NHS staff aren't punchbags': as many as six workers a day attacked in Suffolk by patients

02/07/2019

This news piece was originally published here

Health and social care minister Stephen Hammond has revealed that there were more than 2,318 assaults against NHS workers in Suffolk in 2018 – equating to over 6 assaults every day.

He said "For those patients where there is no underlying medical reason for their violence, we look to work with the patient to manage their behaviour."

He added: "The safety of our staff and patients is paramount - one assault on a member of our staff is too many."

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter - himself a victim of on attack whilst serving on the frontline in the NHS - said the 2018 figure was "probably under-reported, because a lot of staff don't want to criminalise their patients.

"What has happened more in recent years is that we're seeing an increasing evidence of unacceptable behaviour of people who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs in accident and emergency."

Dr Poulter said attacks not only harm dedicated workers but also affect their ability to care for other patients.

"It can affect staff but violence of that sort can also potentially endanger other patients.

"It can affect your confidence and become a job that causes you great anxiety and worry. Some take it in their stride but it can be very difficult to brush off in the immediate aftermath and you can end up losing a nurse or doctor for the rest of that shift, or potentially longer."

"NHS staff aren't punchbags - they are there to help."

Calla body cameras are being used by a growing number of NHS Trusts to help combat the growing violence and aggression in the workplace. A study found that Calla cameras reduced the level of violent incidents on the wards they were deployed on.

Dr. Alex O’Neill-Kerr – Clinical Medical Director, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said “Improving patient and staff safety, coupled with improving the quality of care afforded are key priorities for us and we are always striving to find innovative ways to achieve those objectives. As this study has proven, body worn cameras could play an integral role in accomplishing those goals.”

Learn more about how Calla body cameras can make a difference to your Trust here

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