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Primary care staff increasingly facing physical assaults

The proportion of primary care staff assaulted at work has more than doubled in two years, new data has revealed.

In 2013/14, there were 1,731 reported assaults on primary care staff, amounting to 24 per 1,000 registered staff, which resulted in seven criminal sanctions. This was a significant increase on 2011/12 figures, where there were nine assaults per 1,000 staff.

Across NHS staff in 2013/14, there was a rise of 8.7% in total reported assaults from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14, leading to 1,649 criminal sanctions.

NHS Protect, which gathers the data, said data was missing for 2012/13 because PCTs were abolished.

Richard Hampton, NHS Protect head of external engagement and services, said: ‘No NHS staff should be physically assaulted and we encourage staff who are victims of violence to press charges against assailants. Those who work in the NHS have the right to provide care in a safe environment. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders.’

The BMA backed efforts to increase the number of criminal convictions for culprits found guilty of assaulting GPs and their staff, with GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey warning that as resource-strapped GPs find it tougher and tougher to meet patient demands, ‘the risk that patients take out their frustration on those who are trying to help them increases’.

Readers' comments (8)

  • The 0.28% funding uplift given to practices this year was intended to allow the practices to buy helmets and protective gears for their staff.

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  • when we deregistered a patient for repeated aggressive and intimidating behaviour....he mad a complaint to NHS England....and we are now spending hours answering this complaint! lots of support as usual from the NHS despite the above "Those who work in the NHS have the right to provide care in a safe environment". It means nothing, doctors and their staff mean zilch to the NHS. Just patients, their choice, their rights.......

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  • Over the years I've had this lot happen to me or a GP partner:

    Death threats
    Arson threats to burn practice down (and social services)
    Sexually harassed by a pt
    A pt walk around the room for 10 mins holding a knife
    Called the police to violent patients at risk others 15x in 6 years at one place I worked
    I've been verbally abused more times than I can count
    Traumatised by nonsense complaints by pts that at any time could be taken seriously and out of context
    Humiliated by pts walking in the room holding The Daily Mail and spouting off a load of rubbish that I can't right respond to for fear of a complaint !
    Car damaged
    Punched ( which I blocked)

    0.28% funding uplift for the practice won't cover the security glass in the reception, CCTV cameras, monitored alarm system, rearranging rooms to sit closer to the door and have doors swing outwards!

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  • least we're making progress in some areas.Where is the Daily Mail on this,always the first to trumpet this nation's great values ??Stab the teachers,bash the doctors..whatever next!

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  • Wait until people have to start paying...

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  • Get out if you can.

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  • The NHS Zero Tolerance scheme includes threatening or offensive behaviour within its remit.
    is this article specifically constraining itself to physical assault, or is NHS England moving the goal post to "assaults only" for primary care contractors?

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  • The Daily Lunatic will conveniently "overlook" any evidence of violence towards NHS staff as it is the "lap-dog" of The Hunt.

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