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TV cameras enter Birmingham hospital to highlight assaults on NHS staff

Published 24/11/2015

Security staff, from left, Zoe, Pete, Steve and David at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Channel 5/PA)
Security staff, from left, Zoe, Pete, Steve and David at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Channel 5/PA)

Television camera crews have been granted access to one of the country's busiest hospitals to highlight some of the tens of thousands of assaults committed against NHS staff each year.

Footage set to be broadcast by the Channel 5 documentary - A&E: When Patients Attack - shows staff being spat at, a man hurling chairs across a treatment cubicle, and security officers dealing with a scuffle in a waiting room.

The documentary charts security and clinical staff's efforts to cope with violence and threats made by both patients and other visitors to Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Footage from the 28-monitor CCTV network covering the hospital's 33-acre site shows one patient becoming abusive after apparently urinating in a sink.

Other incidents captured on camera include numerous examples of staff being forced to restrain aggressive patients, and an abusive visitor making death threats after being wrestled to the ground.

In another incident, a female patient is recorded telling a security guard: "You are a marked man, my brother is going to f****** blow you up. I'll f****** come for you."

A nurse, identified by the documentary only by her first name of Kerry, tells the programme she has lost count of the number of times she has been sworn at.

Speaking after she has been punched in the stomach and dodged a second blow aimed at her face, Kerry says: "It can be very frustrating for us. It's not nice at all.

"I have lost count of how many times I have been verbally abused, physically attacked. As sad as it sounds, it comes with the job now."

The documentary will be broadcast on Channel 5 at 10pm on Thursday - a week after the NHS said there had been a 1% drop in the number of assaults against its staff and a small rise in prosecutions.

Data from NHS Protect showed 67,864 physical assaults were reported in England in 2014/15, down 819 from 2013/14.

Criminal sanctions following reported assaults increased slightly to 1,679, up 30 from 2013/14.

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