Rise in assaults at local hospitals - including St Albans

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Samantha Jones

West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Samantha Jones - Credit: Photo supplied

Violence against NHS staff at local hospitals is on the increase according to a recent survey.

St Albans Hospital. Minor injuries unit.

St Albans Hospital. Minor injuries unit. - Credit: Archant

Figures released recently by NHS Protect, which trains staff to recognise and defuse potentially violent situations, show a rise of 8.7 per cent in total reported assaults from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14 across the country.

A breakdown of those figures reveal that the West Herts Hospitals Trust which oversees St Albans, Hemel Hempstead and Watford Hospitals, has reported an increase in assaults from 118 in 2012/13 to 149 in 2013/14.

However there is no further breakdown of those statistics available for each hospital.

The trust’s chief executive Samantha Jones said there were assaults against “our doctors, nurses, midwives and other staff at Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans Hospitals last year.

“I am very disappointed that this is higher than the previous year. However, this rise may in part be due to increased awareness among our staff about the importance of reporting all assaults.”

Ms Jones added: “Of the 149 cases in 2013/14, 145 were considered to be assaults involving medical factors. This is where the perpetrator did not know what they were doing, or did not know what they were doing was wrong due to medical illness, mental ill health, severe learning difficulties or treatment administered.”

Most Read

The national data showed that for every thousand members of staff at local hospitals, 34 were assaulted during the year compared to 29 in 2012/13.

Ms Jones said: “We are committed to doing all we can to protect our staff from assaults, whether they involve medical factors or not.

“As such, we provide frontline staff with dedicated training on how to handle aggressive and violent patients.”

She added that it was, “unacceptable to abuse, verbally or physically, a member of our staff”.

A team of security staff are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for all three hospitals.

• St Albans residents are invited to attend a ‘meet the boss’ event to learn more about the work of their local hospital, plans for its future and ask questions about services. Health chief Samantha Jones is hosting the meeting from 6-7.30pm,Thursday December 18, at St Albans Hospital’s lecture hall.