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NHS not protecting staff

29th October 2009

A health union has accused the NHS of not doing enough to protect staff from violence at work.

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Unison says promises to get tough on offenders has failed as figures show that despite a "zero tolerance" approach, there has only been a 0.5% increase from 1.3% to 1.8%  in offenders facing punishment in the last three years.

The union says agreements signed in 2006 between the NHS, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to take a tougher approach are not working.

Head of health at Unison, Karen Jennings, said: "The issue here is that we have a national policy and the policy is absolutely correct.

"What's wrong is that it's not filtering down to the employment situation or the health care-giving situation.

"So we have got to start looking at how we can ensure that the policies that are there are being implemented on a local level. Unison would be absolutely clear that we have to see board governors, board managers, taking this much, much more seriously."

However, the Security Management Service says the situation is complex.

Some 70% of the attacks on staff involve people with mental health issues, while in other cases staff themselves may decide not to proceed with action.

But the head of the NHS Security Management Service, Richard Hampton, said: "There is an underlying problem that people in the NHS accept violence as a part of the job,” he said.

"Our role is to encourage staff to report the incident and two, to support sanctions against those who offend.”

 

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