A survey has found that just over one in three staff members of the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) have personally been victims of physical violence from the patients or relatives they have attended to. From the same group of NEAS employees who answered the survey, 50.9% reported having experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public.
Both figures above are approximately double the national average determined from the survey. The report has found that staff working at Ambulance Trusts continue to be affected more by harassment, bullying and abuse than those working in other trusts.
The Chief Executive of the North East Ambulance Service, Helen Ray said: ““It was disappointing to note that this year more staff have experienced verbal or physical violence from members of the public while going about their work. It is totally unacceptable that our staff be subjected to any sort of violence at work. We will not tolerate assaults or abuse of any sort and do our utmost to provide the safest environment for them to work in. “
This data comes from the 2019 edition of the annual NHS Staff Survey, where employees of the NHS are asked questions about their work environment and identify improvements that could be implemented to the workplace. From the 1.1 million NHS employees invited to participate last year, around 570,000 people completed the survey.
Prompted by the findings of the survey, Health Secretary Matt Hancock highlighted in a letter addressed to NHS staff that there will be a new joint agreement formed between the NHS, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service for emergency workers. This will be to allow effective investigation and prosecution of assault and hate crime against NHS staff.
Hancock added in the letter: “There is far too much violence against NHS staff, and too much acceptance that it’s part of the job. Far too often I hear stories that the people you are trying to help lash out. I’ve seen it for myself in A&Es, on night shifts, and on ambulances.
I am horrified that any member of the public would abuse or physically assault a member of our NHS staff but it happens too often.”
Last modified: 1st March 2020