Concern over hospital attacks

A WORRYING new trend has seen an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour against hospital staff in Colchester, it has emerged.Figures released today have shown there were 43 assaults against workers at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital in the past year.

By Annie Davidson

A WORRYING new trend has seen an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour against hospital staff in Colchester, it has emerged.

Figures released today have shown there were 43 assaults against workers at Colchester General Hospital and Essex County Hospital in the past year.

And Essex Rivers Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs both the hospitals, has issued a warning that verbal and physical abuse against staff would not be tolerated.

The official figures revealed there were four less assaults in the last year then the previous year but a spokeswoman said recently there had been an increase in violent and aggressive behaviour.

Matron of Emergency Services, Carys Fisher, said: “Unfortunately, there has been a slight increase in violent and aggressive behaviour recently, which is very concerning.

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“Our staff work extremely hard, sometimes in difficult and very stressful circumstances and they don't deserve to be abused or attacked while trying to do their jobs.

“Our message is that we have an absolute zero tolerance policy against this sort of behaviour.

“People should not expect to get away with aggressive behaviour in any other public place and it is no different in a hospital.”

In the last year one member of the public has been prosecuted and one has received a police caution.

Two other members of the public are being investigated by the police for alleged assaults on hospital staff.

Essex Rivers Healthcare Trust's security management director David Hewitt said: “Physical and verbal assaults on hospital staff in Colchester are still rare, but unfortunately in the past year we have had a few unacceptable incidents, which have resulted in those responsible being arrested.

“The figures that have been released by the Government are a bit misleading as it includes those incidents that happen as a result of a patient's clinical condition, and in those cases we act sympathetically.

“Safety of our staff is absolutely paramount and we take every care to minimize any risks they may face.

“We have an accredited security advisor who runs in-house training courses in how to deal with violent and aggressive situations and these courses are mandatory to all front-line staff.

“In the last year we have spent around £30,000 installing extra CCTV cameras to increase security and perhaps most importantly we will not hesitate to prosecute those assaulting a member of staff.”

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