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One in five NHS workers at Sherwood Forest Hospitals faced violence in 2017

One in five NHS workers at Sherwood Forest Hospitals faced violence from patients last year, figures show.

The Government has announced new measures to better protect health service staff in England, calling for a zero tolerance approach.

Responses to the latest NHS Staff Survey show that 19% of workers at the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages both Newark and King’s Mill hospitals, said they had experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or members of the public in 2017.

Newark Hospital.
Newark Hospital.

Around 2,520 employees responded to the survey.

More than a quarter of respondents at the trust said they had been verbally abused by patients or members of the public.

The Royal College of Nursing said that those who wilfully assaulted NHS workers should feel the full force of the law.

National officer Kim Sunley said: “Nurses and health care workers understand their roles are not risk-free but, to many, it still seems as if the threat of physical violence is a daily reality.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has introduced the first NHS Violence Reduction Strategy, a series of measures designed to safeguard NHS workers against deliberate attacks and abuse.

Mr Hancock said it was unacceptable health workers had been subjected to violence and aggression.

The Department for Health and Social Care said that the NHS was partnering with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute offenders quickly under a zero-tolerance approach.

The Care Quality Commission will be scrutinising individual trusts based on their plans to reduce violence against staff and identify those that need further help to protect their employees.

Dr Taj Hassan, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, said: “Patients and their families coming into emergency departments are often experiencing the worst day of their lives; worried, confused and often frustrated.

“This can be understandable. What is unacceptable though is when this spills over into violence.”

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