Violence against NHS staff at the highest levels in 5 years

“NHS staff dedicate their lives to protecting and caring for us in our times of greatest need and for any one of them to be subject to aggression or violence is completely unacceptable.”
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

One in seven health professionals were attacked in the course of their work last year. According to the latest staff survey of NHS Staff in England, 15% of staff said they had experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or the public in 2013, increasing to 15.2% in 2017. Attacks include being stabbed with needles, biting, spitting and sexual assault. Research by Unison and the Health Service Journal suggests that violence is particularly high in trusts struggling to meet their performance targets or with large debts.

In an attempt to reduce violence on NHS staff, the first ever NHS violence reduction strategy has been announced by Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock. The strategy includes:

  • The NHS working with the police and Crown Prosecution Service to help victims give evidence and get prosecutions in the quickest and most efficient way
  • The Care Quality Commission (CQC) scrutinising violence as part of their inspection regime and identifying trusts that need further support
  • Improved training for staff to deal with violence, including circumstances involving patients with dementia or mental illness
  • Prompt mental health support for staff who have been victims of violence

It is incredibly important to make sure NHS staff feel safe, as well as giving them “greater confidence to report violence”, it is essential to prevent violence and protect staff where possible, allowing them to perform their jobs to the best of their ability.

There are many cost-effective protection solutions available that the NHS can implement into buildings to protect staff. Accident and Emergency departments and other waiting areas can be a flash point caused by individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or just unwilling to wait for those with more critical injuries to be treated.

Staff stationed at reception desks can be easily and cost effectively protected using manual attack resistant glazing solutions provided by organisations such as Safetell Ltd. Trading since 1989 Safetell manufacture and install a wide range of tailored, bespoke, and standard security products, offering protection from physical violence, street weapons such as knives, screwdrivers, hammers, or even protection from firearms if requested.

These solutions range from fixed security glazing to moving screen solutions that provide open counter service and protection if required. Safetell Security Glazing UJUHULUG and CounterShield are all retrofittable to existing counterwork and provide protection against manual attack. CounterShield allows open counter communication and staff to assist public while retaining protection, through an automated security screen that can be moved up and down to protect staff when required.

Providing security to staff and reducing violence in the first instance, means that staff can go to work feeling confident and safe, as well as reducing long-term costs, such as, the cost of staff sick leave following an incident and the cost of investigation and litigation.

For Safetell’s full range of attack, bullet and blast resistant doors, walls, glazing and security portals see the Safetell website.