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NHS staff failing to report violent attacks and abuse

By Gareth Iacobucci

NHS staff in Wales are failing to report violent attacks and abuse in the workplace – four years after the problem of under-reporting was first raised, a health watchdog has warned.

The Welsh Audit Office said failure to report violent incidents was an ‘unresolved concern' – and claimed the full extent of the problem was hidden.

It follows a recent Pulse investigation which revealed that violent attacks on GPs in England are being hugely under-recorded, with some PCTs admitting they have no idea of how many incidents are taking place.

The report – an update from a 2005 study - found that staff in Wales were still reluctant to report incidents.

It also said there remained a lack of benchmarking data; and that staff were still inadequately trained to cope with violent incidents from patients.

However, it said progress was being made to improve the consistency of information on reported incidents, health bodies are taking steps to prevent and control attacks, and there are better plans in place for supporting affected staff.

Concerns were first raised that staff were not coming forward in 2005, which was thought to be a combination of some accepting it as part of the job and the overly bureaucratic nature of forms which had be completed.

The watchdog said: ‘Under-reporting is still a problem, with staff continuing to be reluctant to report all incidents of violence and aggression.'

Auditor General for Wales, and author of the report Jeremy Colman said: ‘There is evidence that things are starting to get better following the measures taken by the Assembly Government and NHS trusts. But there are further steps that need to be taken and, with under-reporting still a problem, the full extent of violent incidents is not yet known.'

NHS staff in Wales are failing to report violent attacks and abuse from patients

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