Assaults on hospital staff every 10 days

Scarborough Hospital
Scarborough Hospital

LIFE-SAVING staff at Scarborough Hospital are being attacked nearly every 10 days on average – by patients they’re trying to help.

Doctors and nurses are some of the emergency service workers who have been subjected to abuse and violence according to figures obtained via Freedom of Information requests by the Evening News.

Staff at Scarborough Hospital were subjected to 123 attacks between April 2009 and March 2012. The figures for attacks released by Scarborough Hospital show that last year, there were 32 assaults on staff.

The numbers have dropped steadily over the past three years, with 42 attacks the previous year and 49 attacks the year before that. However, despite the decline, incidents of violence at the hospital are still regular.

Just this month, a woman admitted in court that she had made violent threats towards staff at Scarborough Hospital. Scarborough Magistrates heard how Amy Rice, 27, had used such a “high level of violence” towards staff that eight restraints had to be used on her.

Leo McGrory, chairman of North Yorkshire Links’ Scarborough branch, said: “With any incidents like that, you have to remember it’s not just staff who are affected – it can be upsetting for children to see.”

He added: “In an ideal world, the hospital would have a security guard on 24 hours a day, but it’s not an ideal world sadly.

“You have to ask yourself, what would you really rather have; A security guard or another doctor or nurse? It’s a tough choice.

“Thankfully the hospital has good relations with the police.”

A Scarborough Hospital spokesperson added: “The safety and security of our staff is a priority for the Trust, and any case 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 will take action where necessary to deal with any incidents.”

Firefighters in the town have been attacked twice in the past 14 months.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Group Manager Peter Hudson said: “It is difficult to understand why anyone would want to attack people who are trying to protect others.”

One of the incidents involving the fire brigade involved a gang of 15 youths, who had deliberately started a blaze in Eastfield last year.

The other saw fire fighters subjected to verbal abuse after being called out on a job in February this year.

The figures show that throughout North Yorkshire, fire crews have been attacked 20 times over the past three years.

These incidents have included hoodlums, believed to be under the influence of drink or drugs, pelting firefighters with “missiles”.

Mr Hudson added: “If our crews are injured they can’t attend other incidents and that could have tragic consequences.”

New laws have recently been passed to help punish those found guilty of attacking emergency workers.

Those found guilty of such attacks can now be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000.