Concern over assaults on NHS staff

Friday 26th July 2019

More than 5,000 healthcare staff in Greater Glasgow and Clyde have been attacked or suffered verbal abuse in the past year.

New figures revealing the scale of the problem have been released by the health board in an effort to help reduce and deter incidents.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (GGC) says that violence and aggression is a ‘serious factor’ for healthcare workers, despite a concerted and ongoing campaign against it.

The figures show 5,182 assaults were recorded in the year up to 31 May 2019, with just over half of cases – 2,857 – involving patients assaulting staff.

As well as physical assaults, other types of incidents recorded included threats of physical violence, verbal abuse, stalking and sexual harassment.

Anne MacPherson, director of human resources and organisational development at NHS GGC, said: “Despite us introducing a range of measures to protect our staff we are unfortunately still seeing incidents of both physical and verbal abuse.

“In some instances staff have required support from Police Scotland because of the danger to their own and patients’ wellbeing, and that is unacceptable.”

She added: “Our staff should be able to fulfil their duties without fear of assault or abuse.”

Keith Fleming, head of health and safety at NHS GGC, said: “We take any acts of physical or verbal abuse very seriously.

“Where staff are assaulted or abused while at work, whether in our hospitals or in the community, we fully support them and encourage them to pursue their abusers through the criminal justice system.”