Revealed: toll of attacks on hospital staff

Scarborough Council
Scarborough Council

More than 100 assaults have been made on life-saving hospital staff in Scarborough over recent years, exclusive new figures reveal.

A staff member claims that health workers are “hit and kicked” regularly, as booze and drug-fuelled patients cause chaos in A&E at the weekend.

Scarborough Hospital reception .Picture Richard Ponter.121077d

Scarborough Hospital reception .Picture Richard Ponter.121077d

In total, 166 assaults were carried out in the region’s hospitals between April 2012 and March 2013, including Scarborough.

Security measures at Scarborough Hospital have been beefed up in recent years to try to curb violence there.

But figures disclosed by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust reveal that its staff, such as doctors and nurses, are assaulted on
average almost once every two days.

And violent attackers are going unpunished, with not a single arrest made last year in connection with the assaults.

A member of staff at Scarborough Hospital claims working conditions at the hospital have improved since round-the-clock security guards began patrolling the site.

But the NHS worker, who asked to remain anonymous, added: “Staff have been put in A&E themselves through the attacks.

“I’ve had to call security several times just in the last few weeks alone.

“We have only just had the security put in during the last year, and I would say that they do help us.

“But we get hit or kicked on a regular basis.”

They added that staff on the ward claim weekends and bank holidays cause the biggest headache for staff, although most of the attacks are from patients who the staff member claims “can’t help it”.

But in our figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, medical factors such as mental health problems or substance abuse played no part in 35 unprovoked assaults last year – none of which resulted in prosecution.

In total, 166 assaults were carried out at the Trust between April 2012 and March 2013, including Scarborough.

In the year before, at least 42 assaults took place, although the final figure could be higher due to its merger with the trust.

Nationally, 61,195 reported assaults were committed on hospital staff last year.

A spokesperson for the Trust, which employs over 8,000 staff, said: “Security on our hospital sites is a priority for the Trust, and any incident of violence or aggression against our staff is one too many.

“We aim to provide a safe and secure place for staff, visitors and patients and our figures are below the national average.

“Since acquiring Scarborough Hospital in 2012 we have introduced on site security and there are now three security guards who cover the site 24 hours a day. The hospital is also covered by CCTV.

“Since the introduction of on site security staff have told us that they feel safer at work and are more confident in reporting any concerns to the security team.”

The York NHS Trust merged with Scarborough Hospital in 2012, and it claims that there have been no discussions regarding a further merger elsewhere since.

No specific figures are available for assaults at Scarborough Hospital alone since the merger took place.