New reports and figures seemingly indicate that the number of violent attacks on hospital staff in Cornwall has almost doubled over the past year. According to the figures that were released by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) shows that the staff had reported 224 incidents of violence, which is an increase by 47%.
Unison an organization that represents the health workers, says that violence against staff is unacceptable and a zero tolerance approach should be maintained. Some nurses have claimed that they regularly face abuse, despite security measures.
The RCHT said that the increase could also be partly explained by the staff are also being actively encouraged to report all violent or aggressive incidents. They explained that although the total number of incidents that have been reported had gone down, almost 14% of those were of a violent and aggressive nature. It was also stated that over the past 3 months the percentage of violence has risen to almost 20%.
The government has announced that it is taking the issue of violence against NHS staff very seriously. They explained that there were more than 60,000 cases of the patients or relatives physically assaulting the NHS staff members nationally last year alone. The Health Minister Caroline Flint has announced that the people who abuse or threaten NHS staff could be prosecuted, fined £1,000 or removed from NHS premises.
Stuart Roden from Unison has said that the increase in the more serious cases of violent attacks in Cornwall was alarming. Stating that he suspects a lot of these are fuelled by alcohol and drugs, he felt that there was a need to enforce a zero tolerance campaign. He added that he was pleased to hear the minister talking about fines and removing people from the premises. He also raised the issue of public awareness as another very important step.
Explaining that the attacks have become a worrying issue that the trust is taking extreme and serious measures to combat the problem, the NHS authorities have said that the hospitals will soon be equipped with security devices that would include CCTV camera, 24-hour security and alarms for A&E staff. It was explained that the staff are being encouraged to report acts of violence and aggression promptly so that immediate action can be taken and if necessary reported to the police.