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NHS staff assault figures show rise

The number of physical assaults against NHS staff has risen 6% in the last year, according to new figures.

Data from NHS Protect shows there were 63,199 reported assaults in 2012/13 across England, up from 59,744 in 2011/12.

The number of criminal sanctions against people as a result of assaulting staff has risen by 201, from 1,257 to 1,458 - a 16% increase.

Richard Hampton, head of local support and development services at NHS Protect, said: "NHS staff should expect to be able to provide care in a safe environment, free from violence and physical assault.

"NHS Protect urges employers to take firm action in all cases of assault against NHS staff.

"We urge all NHS staff to report assault and acts of violence against them. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders."

Unison head of health, Christina McAnea, said: "It is absolutely unacceptable that every day more than 173 NHS workers are physically assaulted and that only one in 40 cases results in a criminal sanction.

"Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg as violence on NHS premises remains an under-reported problem.

"No one should feel threatened at work. Our members work day in day out, providing life-saving care despite the stresses caused by the Government's attacks on the health service.

"We're pleased that more people are being prosecuted for assaulting staff but much more still needs to be done to ensure the NHS provides a safe working environment.

"The cuts and resultant pressure on services are causing growing patient frustration especially in hospitals, and have significantly impacted on staff's ability to cope."

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