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TUC calls on government to improve safety of NHS staff at work

More than one fifth of healthcare staff experience work violence, a new TUC poll reveals

More than one fifth (22%) of healthcare workers in England, Wales and Scotland have experienced violence at work, such as being stabbed, punched, pushed or spat on according to a poll by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC poll found that 12% of workers in any sector in the three countries have experienced violence at work, and healthcare staff have the highest rate of workers experiencing violence at work. The poll surveyed 1,642 adults this month.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘These disturbing findings show that millions of people are likely to experience violence and intimidation at some point in their working life – with emergency department staff, nurses, teachers, hotel receptionists and shop workers particularly at risk.’

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘Ambulance staff are up to three times more likely to be assaulted, especially when people have been drinking.  

‘Mental health workers are at particular risk as staffing cuts have led to more attacks and the drop in police numbers means they have fewer officers to respond when assaults are reported.’

Unison has called on the government to establish a taskforce to investigate how to make NHS workplaces safer for staff. 

NHS Protect head of external engagement and services Richard Hampton said: 'Violence against anyone providing healthcare is totally unacceptable, and we encourage staff who are victims of violence to report it.

‘We will also be engaging with the TUC to examine the detailed findings from their research.’

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