Tag Archives: rise

‘Shocking’ rise in coroner warnings over NHS patient deaths, says Labour

The number of legal warnings issued by coroners over patient deaths in England attributed to NHS resourcing issues has risen by 40% in three years.

There were 42 prevention of future death reports (PFDs) relating to issues such as lack of beds, staff shortages or insufficiently trained agency staff in 2016 compared with 30 in 2013.

Coroners have a statutory duty to make reports to a person, organisation, local authority or government department or agency where the coroner believes that action should be taken to prevent future deaths.

Labour, which compiled the figures, blamed the increase on the government’s austerity policies.

Justin Madders, shadow health minister, said: “This shocking rise in austerity-related deaths in the NHS shows yet again the devastating impact of Tory underfunding. Jeremy Hunt has claimed patient safety as his watchword, yet the truth is that more deaths are being blamed on a lack of resources in the NHS.

“If the government doesn’t provide the health service with the funding it needs there is a real danger that services just become unsafe for patients. Ministers must take action now and give the NHS the resources it needs to keep patients safe.”

Within the 42 PFDs relating to lack of resources, eight were specifically concerned with resourcing of mental health services – double the number from 2013. Labour said the resourcing of mental health services was of particular concern, with deaths related to issues including the lack of mental health inpatient beds or shortages of trained staff.

Among the mental health-related deaths attributed to resource issues in 2016 was that of Wendy Telfer, 44, who died after taking an overdose in March of that year. The PFD to Royal Devon and Exeter NHS foundation trust said: “It is accepted that the problem of psychiatric inpatient beds is a national one, but on this occasion, had a bed been available when needed for Wendy, her death is likely to have been avoided.”

A 2017 PFD sent to the Department of Health (now the Deparntment of Health and Social Care) after the death of Christopher Fairhurst in December 2016 said a shortage of GPs put patients at risk and and placed unmanageable workloads upon those GPs who were in post.

In all there were 42 PFDs expressing concern about the quality of NHS mental health care – including the eight related to resources – in 2016, almost double the amount (22) in 2013. A Guardian investigation published in March found that coroners in England and Wales served PFDs relating to 271 mental health patients between 2012 and 2017.

The peak month in 2016 for deaths identified by coroners as being linked to a lack of resources (whether mental health-related or otherwise) was December, with eight. The NHS is traditionally most overstretched in winter, with staff shortages and high bed occupancy rates.

Regular winter crises are a consequence of increased demand for services without a corresponding increase in funding. In four weeks in the run-up to Christmas 2016, 50 of the 152 English trusts were at the highest or second-highest level of pressure, according to Nuffield Trust analysis commissioned by the BBC.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said every preventable death was a tragedy. He said: “When coroners recommend specific steps to prevent future tragedy we expect NHS bodies to act without delay.

“As well as making mental health services a personal priority, both the prime minister and the secretary of state have committed to a long term plan with a sustainable multi-year settlement for the NHS, which will be agreed with NHS leaders, clinicians, and health experts.”

Rise of contraceptive apps sparks fears over unwanted pregnancies

Growing numbers of women are using contraceptive apps, but experts have warned that they could lead to unwanted pregnancies.

The Swedish app Natural Cycles, the only certified app for contraception, has seen a surge in members from the UK in the past year with almost 200,000 members signed up, an increase from 5,000 in 2016.

Sarah Hardman, the director of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare’s clinical effectiveness unit in Edinburgh expressed concern that while some women were very pleased with contraception apps, others had unwanted pregnancies while using them.

“We don’t have a good indication yet of how successful the average woman in the street in the UK is going to be when using them,” she said.

She added: “I would express concern about people knowing what they need to know before they use it and not just thinking: ‘this is modern because it’s an app and it’s something new, so it’s better and more effective’. It’s not – it’s just very different.”

Hardman said she understands there will be women who want to avoid hormones. “For them, they may say: ‘I understand that this is not as effective as lots of contraceptives, you need to work hard to get it right and it’s not a disaster if I did get pregnant.’ It’s about choice for women but it’s about making choices in an informed way and knowing something’s limitations.”

In the past few years, there has been a growth in contraceptive apps. These include Kindara – which allows you to track everything from your body temperature to the appearance of your cervical fluid – to Ovia, which lets you monitor your moods, periods and other metrics. The apps work by pinpointing when you ovulate and when you are most fertile.

Natural Cycles requires women to input their temperature every morning. It then calculates their menstrual cycle and informs them when they can have sex without protection.

The app met with controversy earlier this year when it was reported to Swedish authorities after a hospital found 37 cases of unwanted pregnancies among women relying on it for contraception.

Natural Cycles said that the efficacy of the app was backed by a wealth of clinical data: a study of 22,785 women, demonstrated an effectiveness rate of 93%.

Hardman said: “It’s a good study as it has lots of women involved but they are women who went out to specifically look for something different for contraception… maybe they had problems on the pill… they chose to use this app, so may be more motivated than the average woman on the street.”

Natural Cycles chief executive Raoul Scherwitzl said:“It is important to note that our typical users are age 30 on average, in a stable relationship with a regular daily routine – and are willing to take their temperature on a daily basis and use protection on fertile days. Our users do tend to be highly motivated.”

The concept of tracking fertility has roots in the work of gynaecologists Hermann Knaus and Kyusaku Ogino, who in the 1930s revealed that ovulation occurs in the mid-point of the cycle. Their discovery led to the development ofcontraceptive practices such as methods involving daily temperature readings and checking the consistency of cervical mucus.

Hardman said: “We will not know how it works for the general population until it’s been out there and used and, at that point, we would love to be pleasantly surprised. But looking at the general population, we know people can use pills and condoms and not always use them perfectly, and the overall failure rate can be quite high. That is why we are concerned.”

Rise in assaults on staff reveals intolerable pressure on NHS

The revelation of the sharp increase in attacks on NHS staff highlights a problem which is serious, global and growing.

The survey by the Health Service Journal and Unison showed assaults in 2016-17 were almost 10% up on the previous year, driven by big increases in hospitals that were missing treatment targets or seriously in debt. Staff in mental health trusts were more than seven times more likely to be attacked than those in other trusts.

The World Health Organization says health workers are at a high risk of physical violence all over the globe, and estimates that between 8% and 38% of staff in different countries suffer at some point in their careers. A study by the International Council of Nurses concluded that healthcare workers were more likely to be attacked at work than prison guards or police officers, and that female nurses were most at risk.

On top of these attacks during day-to-day work, healthcare staff dealing with health emergencies such as wars are in enormous danger. WHO figures indicate that over the two-year period to 2015, 959 such healthcare workers were killed and 1,561 injured across 19 countries.)

A global study by the University of South Florida found that attacks on nurses tended to be concentrated in emergency departments and geriatric and psychiatric units. What unites these areas is that staff are working with patients who are in pain or distress, anxious and likely to feel that they have lost control of their lives. The author pointed out that geriatric and psychiatric patients are more likely to have poor impulse control.

This study uncovered striking differences across the world, with the highest rate of attacks occurring in the “anglo” countries, which included Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and the US, at a rate almost double that in the Middle East. Underreporting may be a factor, but the difference appears stark.

Nurses working in Asia and the Middle East are more likely to be attacked by relatives and friends of the patient, showing how prevention strategies need to be tailored to local circumstances.

Of course, if there is violence all around you, it will come into the hospital. In the first six months after the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit installed metal detectors, staff confiscated 33 handguns, 1,324 knives and 97 chemical sprays.

The emotional and physical impact on staff who have been attacked includes headaches, loneliness, irritability, anger, insecurity, sadness, low self-esteem, sleeping disorders, stress and depression. Staff can become fearful of patients and it can cause difficulties with colleagues and family. The psychological impact is often magnified by the feeling that their profession is not respected. Many need time off work. Some simply quit.

Patients also suffer. It takes extraordinary professionalism to refuse to allow an awful experience with one intoxicated patient to cloud judgment about the next, while there are serious risks inherent in a loss of empathy for psychiatric patients.

The marked increase in violence in the trusts in England under financial and performance pressure hints at how a fraught, tense working environment can put staff and patients on edge. It is easy to understand how combining long waits for patients with stressed staff trying to run a system only kept on the rails through frantic activity creates an atmosphere where tensions and frustration escalate to assaults.

Potentially even more traumatic are attacks on staff working in the community, often alone. At least in a hospital someone will come to your aid. A Royal College of Nursing survey revealed that half of community nurses felt vulnerable, one in 10 had been assaulted and less than a quarter said their managers always knew when they were working alone.

The government must face up to the issue of staff being attacked. It needs to start collecting data on assaults again (having stopped last year) and recognise that – just as much as financial returns or performance figures – it reveals where the NHS is under intolerable pressure.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs

Rise in assaults on staff reveals intolerable pressure on NHS

The revelation of the sharp increase in attacks on NHS staff highlights a problem which is serious, global and growing.

The survey by the Health Service Journal and Unison showed assaults in 2016-17 were almost 10% up on the previous year, driven by big increases in hospitals that were missing treatment targets or seriously in debt. Staff in mental health trusts were more than seven times more likely to be attacked than those in other trusts.

The World Health Organization says health workers are at a high risk of physical violence all over the globe, and estimates that between 8% and 38% of staff in different countries suffer at some point in their careers. A study by the International Council of Nurses concluded that healthcare workers were more likely to be attacked at work than prison guards or police officers, and that female nurses were most at risk.

On top of these attacks during day-to-day work, healthcare staff dealing with health emergencies such as wars are in enormous danger. WHO figures indicate that over the two-year period to 2015, 959 such healthcare workers were killed and 1,561 injured across 19 countries.)

A global study by the University of South Florida found that attacks on nurses tended to be concentrated in emergency departments and geriatric and psychiatric units. What unites these areas is that staff are working with patients who are in pain or distress, anxious and likely to feel that they have lost control of their lives. The author pointed out that geriatric and psychiatric patients are more likely to have poor impulse control.

This study uncovered striking differences across the world, with the highest rate of attacks occurring in the “anglo” countries, which included Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and the US, at a rate almost double that in the Middle East. Underreporting may be a factor, but the difference appears stark.

Nurses working in Asia and the Middle East are more likely to be attacked by relatives and friends of the patient, showing how prevention strategies need to be tailored to local circumstances.

Of course, if there is violence all around you, it will come into the hospital. In the first six months after the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit installed metal detectors, staff confiscated 33 handguns, 1,324 knives and 97 chemical sprays.

The emotional and physical impact on staff who have been attacked includes headaches, loneliness, irritability, anger, insecurity, sadness, low self-esteem, sleeping disorders, stress and depression. Staff can become fearful of patients and it can cause difficulties with colleagues and family. The psychological impact is often magnified by the feeling that their profession is not respected. Many need time off work. Some simply quit.

Patients also suffer. It takes extraordinary professionalism to refuse to allow an awful experience with one intoxicated patient to cloud judgment about the next, while there are serious risks inherent in a loss of empathy for psychiatric patients.

The marked increase in violence in the trusts in England under financial and performance pressure hints at how a fraught, tense working environment can put staff and patients on edge. It is easy to understand how combining long waits for patients with stressed staff trying to run a system only kept on the rails through frantic activity creates an atmosphere where tensions and frustration escalate to assaults.

Potentially even more traumatic are attacks on staff working in the community, often alone. At least in a hospital someone will come to your aid. A Royal College of Nursing survey revealed that half of community nurses felt vulnerable, one in 10 had been assaulted and less than a quarter said their managers always knew when they were working alone.

The government must face up to the issue of staff being attacked. It needs to start collecting data on assaults again (having stopped last year) and recognise that – just as much as financial returns or performance figures – it reveals where the NHS is under intolerable pressure.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs

Rise in assaults on staff reveals intolerable pressure on NHS

The revelation of the sharp increase in attacks on NHS staff highlights a problem which is serious, global and growing.

The survey by the Health Service Journal and Unison showed assaults in 2016-17 were almost 10% up on the previous year, driven by big increases in hospitals that were missing treatment targets or seriously in debt. Staff in mental health trusts were more than seven times more likely to be attacked than those in other trusts.

The World Health Organization says health workers are at a high risk of physical violence all over the globe, and estimates that between 8% and 38% of staff in different countries suffer at some point in their careers. A study by the International Council of Nurses concluded that healthcare workers were more likely to be attacked at work than prison guards or police officers, and that female nurses were most at risk.

On top of these attacks during day-to-day work, healthcare staff dealing with health emergencies such as wars are in enormous danger. WHO figures indicate that over the two-year period to 2015, 959 such healthcare workers were killed and 1,561 injured across 19 countries.)

A global study by the University of South Florida found that attacks on nurses tended to be concentrated in emergency departments and geriatric and psychiatric units. What unites these areas is that staff are working with patients who are in pain or distress, anxious and likely to feel that they have lost control of their lives. The author pointed out that geriatric and psychiatric patients are more likely to have poor impulse control.

This study uncovered striking differences across the world, with the highest rate of attacks occurring in the “anglo” countries, which included Australia, Canada, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland and the US, at a rate almost double that in the Middle East. Underreporting may be a factor, but the difference appears stark.

Nurses working in Asia and the Middle East are more likely to be attacked by relatives and friends of the patient, showing how prevention strategies need to be tailored to local circumstances.

Of course, if there is violence all around you, it will come into the hospital. In the first six months after the Henry Ford hospital in Detroit installed metal detectors, staff confiscated 33 handguns, 1,324 knives and 97 chemical sprays.

The emotional and physical impact on staff who have been attacked includes headaches, loneliness, irritability, anger, insecurity, sadness, low self-esteem, sleeping disorders, stress and depression. Staff can become fearful of patients and it can cause difficulties with colleagues and family. The psychological impact is often magnified by the feeling that their profession is not respected. Many need time off work. Some simply quit.

Patients also suffer. It takes extraordinary professionalism to refuse to allow an awful experience with one intoxicated patient to cloud judgment about the next, while there are serious risks inherent in a loss of empathy for psychiatric patients.

The marked increase in violence in the trusts in England under financial and performance pressure hints at how a fraught, tense working environment can put staff and patients on edge. It is easy to understand how combining long waits for patients with stressed staff trying to run a system only kept on the rails through frantic activity creates an atmosphere where tensions and frustration escalate to assaults.

Potentially even more traumatic are attacks on staff working in the community, often alone. At least in a hospital someone will come to your aid. A Royal College of Nursing survey revealed that half of community nurses felt vulnerable, one in 10 had been assaulted and less than a quarter said their managers always knew when they were working alone.

The government must face up to the issue of staff being attacked. It needs to start collecting data on assaults again (having stopped last year) and recognise that – just as much as financial returns or performance figures – it reveals where the NHS is under intolerable pressure.

Join the Healthcare Professionals Network to read more pieces like this. And follow us on Twitter (@GdnHealthcare) to keep up with the latest healthcare news and views

If you’re looking for a healthcare job or need to recruit staff, visit Guardian Jobs

Rise in attacks on NHS workers blamed on lack of staff and delays

Growing numbers of NHS personnel in England have been the victim of a violent attack at work, with understaffing and delays in patients accessing services being blamed for the rise.

Figures supplied by hospital trusts have shown that they recorded 56,435 physical assaults on staff in 2016-17, up 9.7% on the 51,447 recorded the year before.

The data, from 181 of the NHS’s 244 hospital trusts, was obtained by the Health Service Journal on behalf of the union Unison under the Freedom of Information Act.

Nurses, paramedics and mental health staff are among those most likely to be assaulted.

Acute hospital trusts have seen the biggest increase in attacks. There were 18,720 assaults on their staff during 2016-17, 21% more than the 15,469 the previous year. Unison said the jump was staggering and was linked to NHS pressures and growing waits for urgent and emergency care.

The figures appear to show that trusts with the worst performance in terms of key NHS-wide treatment targets are more likely to see their personnel being attacked.

Hospitals should treat and then admit, transfer or discharge 95% of A&E patients within four hours, provide non-urgent care to 92% of patients within 18 weeks and meet strict financial targets. But short staffing, tight budgets and rising demand mean that many cannot meet all targets.

At trusts that treated 90% or less of patients waiting for planned care, under the referral to treatment 18-week care pathway, assaults on staff went up by an average of 36.2% from a total of 5,125 in 2015-16 to 6,982 in 2016-17, far more than the general 9.7% increase.

Likewise, hospitals with large deficits have also seen notable increases. At those which were more than £20m in the red, assaults rose from 4,152 in 2015-16 to 5,113 in 2016-17 – a 23.1% increase. In contrast, trusts which were in the black had a 1.5% rise.

Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to include the 63 trusts that did not respond to a request for figures, the true total of assaults every year would be about 75,000, or 200 a day.

“Across the entire NHS, staff shortages are harming patient care and helping to create a hostile environment where health workers are increasingly at risk of being assaulted,” said Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health.

“It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks. This desperate situation is only set to worsen as the squeeze on resources gets tighter.”

Staff in mental health services are seven and a half times more likely to be assaulted. There were a total of 33,820 assaults in 2016-17 in the mental health trusts that responded – a 5% annual rise, which was smaller than the year before. “This seems to suggest the sector is having some success in preventing a difficult situation from getting any worse,” Unison said.

“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff is abhorrent and we encourage all of our member services to prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. There can never be any excuse for verbally or physically abusing NHS ambulance staff, who are simply doing their job trying to care for patients in often difficult circumstances,” said Martin Flaherty, the managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

NHS England said: “It is completely unacceptable that a nurse, paramedic, porter or any member of NHS staff should be assaulted physically or verbally as they care for patients. NHS England continues to work with trusts and any of our staff affected, to help the police and other authorities do everything needed when an assault takes place.”

Rise in attacks on NHS workers blamed on lack of staff and delays

Growing numbers of NHS personnel in England have been the victim of a violent attack at work, with understaffing and delays in patients accessing services being blamed for the rise.

Figures supplied by hospital trusts have shown that they recorded 56,435 physical assaults on staff in 2016-17, up 9.7% on the 51,447 recorded the year before.

The data, from 181 of the NHS’s 244 hospital trusts, was obtained by the Health Service Journal on behalf of the union Unison under the Freedom of Information Act.

Nurses, paramedics and mental health staff are among those most likely to be assaulted.

Acute hospital trusts have seen the biggest increase in attacks. There were 18,720 assaults on their staff during 2016-17, 21% more than the 15,469 the previous year. Unison said the jump was staggering and was linked to NHS pressures and growing waits for urgent and emergency care.

The figures appear to show that trusts with the worst performance in terms of key NHS-wide treatment targets are more likely to see their personnel being attacked.

Hospitals should treat and then admit, transfer or discharge 95% of A&E patients within four hours, provide non-urgent care to 92% of patients within 18 weeks and meet strict financial targets. But short staffing, tight budgets and rising demand mean that many cannot meet all targets.

At trusts that treated 90% or less of patients waiting for planned care, under the referral to treatment 18-week care pathway, assaults on staff went up by an average of 36.2% from a total of 5,125 in 2015-16 to 6,982 in 2016-17, far more than the general 9.7% increase.

Likewise, hospitals with large deficits have also seen notable increases. At those which were more than £20m in the red, assaults rose from 4,152 in 2015-16 to 5,113 in 2016-17 – a 23.1% increase. In contrast, trusts which were in the black had a 1.5% rise.

Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to include the 63 trusts that did not respond to a request for figures, the true total of assaults every year would be about 75,000, or 200 a day.

“Across the entire NHS, staff shortages are harming patient care and helping to create a hostile environment where health workers are increasingly at risk of being assaulted,” said Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health.

“It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks. This desperate situation is only set to worsen as the squeeze on resources gets tighter.”

Staff in mental health services are seven and a half times more likely to be assaulted. There were a total of 33,820 assaults in 2016-17 in the mental health trusts that responded – a 5% annual rise, which was smaller than the year before. “This seems to suggest the sector is having some success in preventing a difficult situation from getting any worse,” Unison said.

“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff is abhorrent and we encourage all of our member services to prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. There can never be any excuse for verbally or physically abusing NHS ambulance staff, who are simply doing their job trying to care for patients in often difficult circumstances,” said Martin Flaherty, the managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

NHS England said: “It is completely unacceptable that a nurse, paramedic, porter or any member of NHS staff should be assaulted physically or verbally as they care for patients. NHS England continues to work with trusts and any of our staff affected, to help the police and other authorities do everything needed when an assault takes place.”

Rise in attacks on NHS workers blamed on lack of staff and delays

Growing numbers of NHS personnel in England have been the victim of a violent attack at work, with understaffing and delays in patients accessing services being blamed for the rise.

Figures supplied by hospital trusts have shown that they recorded 56,435 physical assaults on staff in 2016-17, up 9.7% on the 51,447 recorded the year before.

The data, from 181 of the NHS’s 244 hospital trusts, was obtained by the Health Service Journal on behalf of the union Unison under the Freedom of Information Act.

Nurses, paramedics and mental health staff are among those most likely to be assaulted.

Acute hospital trusts have seen the biggest increase in attacks. There were 18,720 assaults on their staff during 2016-17, 21% more than the 15,469 the previous year. Unison said the jump was staggering and was linked to NHS pressures and growing waits for urgent and emergency care.

The figures appear to show that trusts with the worst performance in terms of key NHS-wide treatment targets are more likely to see their personnel being attacked.

Hospitals should treat and then admit, transfer or discharge 95% of A&E patients within four hours, provide non-urgent care to 92% of patients within 18 weeks and meet strict financial targets. But short staffing, tight budgets and rising demand mean that many cannot meet all targets.

At trusts that treated 90% or less of patients waiting for planned care, under the referral to treatment 18-week care pathway, assaults on staff went up by an average of 36.2% from a total of 5,125 in 2015-16 to 6,982 in 2016-17, far more than the general 9.7% increase.

Likewise, hospitals with large deficits have also seen notable increases. At those which were more than £20m in the red, assaults rose from 4,152 in 2015-16 to 5,113 in 2016-17 – a 23.1% increase. In contrast, trusts which were in the black had a 1.5% rise.

Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to include the 63 trusts that did not respond to a request for figures, the true total of assaults every year would be about 75,000, or 200 a day.

“Across the entire NHS, staff shortages are harming patient care and helping to create a hostile environment where health workers are increasingly at risk of being assaulted,” said Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health.

“It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks. This desperate situation is only set to worsen as the squeeze on resources gets tighter.”

Staff in mental health services are seven and a half times more likely to be assaulted. There were a total of 33,820 assaults in 2016-17 in the mental health trusts that responded – a 5% annual rise, which was smaller than the year before. “This seems to suggest the sector is having some success in preventing a difficult situation from getting any worse,” Unison said.

“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff is abhorrent and we encourage all of our member services to prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. There can never be any excuse for verbally or physically abusing NHS ambulance staff, who are simply doing their job trying to care for patients in often difficult circumstances,” said Martin Flaherty, the managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

NHS England said: “It is completely unacceptable that a nurse, paramedic, porter or any member of NHS staff should be assaulted physically or verbally as they care for patients. NHS England continues to work with trusts and any of our staff affected, to help the police and other authorities do everything needed when an assault takes place.”

Rise in attacks on NHS workers blamed on lack of staff and delays

Growing numbers of NHS personnel in England have been the victim of a violent attack at work, with understaffing and delays in patients accessing services being blamed for the rise.

Figures supplied by hospital trusts have shown that they recorded 56,435 physical assaults on staff in 2016-17, up 9.7% on the 51,447 recorded the year before.

The data, from 181 of the NHS’s 244 hospital trusts, was obtained by the Health Service Journal on behalf of the union Unison under the Freedom of Information Act.

Nurses, paramedics and mental health staff are among those most likely to be assaulted.

Acute hospital trusts have seen the biggest increase in attacks. There were 18,720 assaults on their staff during 2016-17, 21% more than the 15,469 the previous year. Unison said the jump was staggering and was linked to NHS pressures and growing waits for urgent and emergency care.

The figures appear to show that trusts with the worst performance in terms of key NHS-wide treatment targets are more likely to see their personnel being attacked.

Hospitals should treat and then admit, transfer or discharge 95% of A&E patients within four hours, provide non-urgent care to 92% of patients within 18 weeks and meet strict financial targets. But short staffing, tight budgets and rising demand mean that many cannot meet all targets.

At trusts that treated 90% or less of patients waiting for planned care, under the referral to treatment 18-week care pathway, assaults on staff went up by an average of 36.2% from a total of 5,125 in 2015-16 to 6,982 in 2016-17, far more than the general 9.7% increase.

Likewise, hospitals with large deficits have also seen notable increases. At those which were more than £20m in the red, assaults rose from 4,152 in 2015-16 to 5,113 in 2016-17 – a 23.1% increase. In contrast, trusts which were in the black had a 1.5% rise.

Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to include the 63 trusts that did not respond to a request for figures, the true total of assaults every year would be about 75,000, or 200 a day.

“Across the entire NHS, staff shortages are harming patient care and helping to create a hostile environment where health workers are increasingly at risk of being assaulted,” said Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health.

“It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks. This desperate situation is only set to worsen as the squeeze on resources gets tighter.”

Staff in mental health services are seven and a half times more likely to be assaulted. There were a total of 33,820 assaults in 2016-17 in the mental health trusts that responded – a 5% annual rise, which was smaller than the year before. “This seems to suggest the sector is having some success in preventing a difficult situation from getting any worse,” Unison said.

“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff is abhorrent and we encourage all of our member services to prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. There can never be any excuse for verbally or physically abusing NHS ambulance staff, who are simply doing their job trying to care for patients in often difficult circumstances,” said Martin Flaherty, the managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

NHS England said: “It is completely unacceptable that a nurse, paramedic, porter or any member of NHS staff should be assaulted physically or verbally as they care for patients. NHS England continues to work with trusts and any of our staff affected, to help the police and other authorities do everything needed when an assault takes place.”

Rise in attacks on NHS workers blamed on lack of staff and delays

Growing numbers of NHS personnel in England have been the victim of a violent attack at work, with understaffing and delays in patients accessing services being blamed for the rise.

Figures supplied by hospital trusts have shown that they recorded 56,435 physical assaults on staff in 2016-17, up 9.7% on the 51,447 recorded the year before.

The data, from 181 of the NHS’s 244 hospital trusts, was obtained by the Health Service Journal on behalf of the union Unison under the Freedom of Information Act.

Nurses, paramedics and mental health staff are among those most likely to be assaulted.

Acute hospital trusts have seen the biggest increase in attacks. There were 18,720 assaults on their staff during 2016-17, 21% more than the 15,469 the previous year. Unison said the jump was staggering and was linked to NHS pressures and growing waits for urgent and emergency care.

The figures appear to show that trusts with the worst performance in terms of key NHS-wide treatment targets are more likely to see their personnel being attacked.

Hospitals should treat and then admit, transfer or discharge 95% of A&E patients within four hours, provide non-urgent care to 92% of patients within 18 weeks and meet strict financial targets. But short staffing, tight budgets and rising demand mean that many cannot meet all targets.

At trusts that treated 90% or less of patients waiting for planned care, under the referral to treatment 18-week care pathway, assaults on staff went up by an average of 36.2% from a total of 5,125 in 2015-16 to 6,982 in 2016-17, far more than the general 9.7% increase.

Likewise, hospitals with large deficits have also seen notable increases. At those which were more than £20m in the red, assaults rose from 4,152 in 2015-16 to 5,113 in 2016-17 – a 23.1% increase. In contrast, trusts which were in the black had a 1.5% rise.

Unison said if the figures were extrapolated to include the 63 trusts that did not respond to a request for figures, the true total of assaults every year would be about 75,000, or 200 a day.

“Across the entire NHS, staff shortages are harming patient care and helping to create a hostile environment where health workers are increasingly at risk of being assaulted,” said Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health.

“It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme – where there are huge financial deficits or where it’s a struggle to meet growing demands on services – have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks. This desperate situation is only set to worsen as the squeeze on resources gets tighter.”

Staff in mental health services are seven and a half times more likely to be assaulted. There were a total of 33,820 assaults in 2016-17 in the mental health trusts that responded – a 5% annual rise, which was smaller than the year before. “This seems to suggest the sector is having some success in preventing a difficult situation from getting any worse,” Unison said.

“Violence and aggression towards ambulance staff is abhorrent and we encourage all of our member services to prosecute perpetrators to the full extent of the law. There can never be any excuse for verbally or physically abusing NHS ambulance staff, who are simply doing their job trying to care for patients in often difficult circumstances,” said Martin Flaherty, the managing director of the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives.

NHS England said: “It is completely unacceptable that a nurse, paramedic, porter or any member of NHS staff should be assaulted physically or verbally as they care for patients. NHS England continues to work with trusts and any of our staff affected, to help the police and other authorities do everything needed when an assault takes place.”