2012-13 figures released for reported physical assaults against NHS staff

News Article

29 November 2013

NHS Protect today released the 2012-13 figures for reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England. These figures were collated from 341 health bodies across the country.

The number of criminal sanctions following reported assaults has risen by 201, from 1,257 to 1,458 – a rise of 15.9%. Overall, there was a rise of 5.8% in total reported assaults from 59,744 in 2011/12 to 63,199 in 2012/13.

Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said today:

“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”.

NHS Protect urges health bodies to:

  • Take advantage of the joint working agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Crown Prosecution Service and use existing guidance to pursue local arrangements building on this national agreement - to ensure criminal assaults are identified and do not go unpunished.
  • Seek advice from the enhanced network of NHS Protect’s Area Security Management Specialists (ASMSs). They give guidance to Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) and assist in assessing risks of violence, addressing these through prevention work and pursuing legal action when assaults do occur.
  • Ensure staff are trained to use available powers to respond decisively to lowlevel
    nuisance behaviour before it escalates into violence against staff (these
    powers are available under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008).
  • Be aware that NHS Protect has been included in the forthcoming Anti-Social
    Behaviour, Crime & Policing Bill in order to provide new tools for dealing with
    persistent anti-social behaviour within the NHS.
  • Note that NHS Protect’s new guidance “Meeting needs and reducing distress
    – Guidance on the prevention and management of clinically related
    challenging behaviour in NHS settings” is to be launched shortly and aims to
    provide NHS staff with the tools to de-escalate and reduce challenging
    behaviour within the NHS.

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For more information contact Dan Houghton or James Robertson at the NHS Protect press office on 020 7895 4523/24. Out of hours mobile 07717 851 926.

Further information on NHS Protect is at www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/Protect.aspx

Notes to Editors

1. A detailed breakdown of the figures can be found at http://www.nhsbsa.nhs.uk/3645.aspx
2. NHS Protect incorporates some functions of the former NHS Security Management Service (NHS SMS).
3. NHS Protect provides policy and operational guidance relating to the management of security within the NHS in England. It strives to ensure permanent improvements are made to provide the best protection for NHS staff and property.
4. In 2012/13, there were 63,199 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England.
5. NHS Protect has a national syllabus for conflict resolution training aimed at all frontline NHS staff. It gives staff the skills to recognise and defuse potentially violent situations.
6. Local Security Management Specialists (LSMSs) are in place in health bodies across England to investigate security breaches, along with the police, and implement new systems to better protect NHS staff and property. All reported incidents of violence against staff are reported to the LSMS as well as the police. LSMSs receive professional training in areas such as witness interviewing and a background in law, and are supported nationally by NHS Protect.
7. NHS Protect is the operating name of the NHS Counter Fraud and Security Management Service.