Physical assaults on NHS staff in England increase by 8.7%

November 20, 2014
Jim ODwyer

NHS Protect today published the number of reported physical assaults on NHS staff in England during 2013-14.

The figures show the number of assaults increased from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14, a rise of 8.7%.

The number of sanctions (including criminal prosecutions) applied following reported assaults also rose from 1,458 in 2013 to 1,649 in 2014, an increase of 13.1%.

In 78% of assault cases during 2013-2014, the medical condition of the assailant was an obstacle to the pursuit of a criminal sanction, compared to 79% in 2012/13.

To download a detailed breakdown of the figures (.pdf) Click Here.

Richard Hampton, head of external engagement and services at NHS Protect, said the almost 9% increase in assaults this year was most likely caused by a combination of many working environments continuing to leave staff vulnerable and greater awareness among employees about reporting incidents. He said: “It is our opinion, anecdotally, that more people are reporting assaults compared to a historic under reporting. However, we can’t lose sight of the fact that staff are in vulnerable positions.”

However, unions drew a connection between the hike in reported assaults and the increasing pressures staff were under from workforce shortages. To read more about this topic on the Nursing Times web site: Click Here.

NHS Protect have also published a table showing the number of physical assaults on NHS staff for the years 2004-2014. The table shows a continuing increase from 60,385 in 2004-2005 (i.e. when the NHS Security Management Service took over responsibility for managing the problem of violence towards NHS Staff) to 68,683 in 2013/14. It also shows that the number of criminal sanctions imposed on offenders has risen by more that 100% over the same period (from 759 to 1,649).

To download the table document Click Here.