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Assaults on nursing staff: trust chief tells court about impact of attack

Written statement submitted ahead of sentencing for Boxing Day assault on emergency workers
Portsmouth Magistrates Court

Written statement submitted ahead of sentencing for Boxing Day assault on emergency workers

NHS staff can find dealing with patients challenging or traumatic, a hospital chief has told a court following an attack on one of the nurses at his trust.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Mark Cubbons written statement highlighting the impact of violence on staff was submitted to the court before Jamie Tompkins was sentenced on two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, threatening and abusive behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence, and criminal damage.

Ms Tompkins, of Portsmouth, received a 16-week sentence suspended for 12 months at Portsmouth Magistrates Court, after admitting the charges on 29 January.

Written statement submitted ahead of sentencing for Boxing Day assault on emergency workers


Portsmouth Magistrates Court, where Jamie Tompkins was sentenced for assaulting a nurse. Picture: Alamy

NHS staff can find dealing with patients ‘challenging or traumatic’, a hospital chief has told a court following an attack on one of the nurses at his trust.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust chief executive Mark Cubbon’s written statement highlighting the impact of violence on staff was submitted to the court before Jamie Tompkins was sentenced on two counts of assaulting an emergency worker, threatening and abusive behaviour with intent to cause fear of violence, and criminal damage.

Ms Tompkins, of Portsmouth, received a 16-week sentence suspended for 12 months at Portsmouth Magistrates Court, after admitting the charges on 29 January.

The charges related to incidents on Boxing Day 2019, when Ms Tompkins, 22, assaulted a police officer before being taken to an emergency department. There she jumped over a reception desk, damaged computer equipment, threatened staff and assaulted a nurse.

Assaults put additional strain on front-line staff

Mark Cubbon, chief executive of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Mark Cubbon: ‘Staff suffer not just
physical injuries, but psychological effects’

In his statement, Mr Cubbon said on average there were 43 assaults or aggressive incidents each week against staff at the trust’s Queen Alexandra Hospital, which often result in sickness absence, putting additional strain on front-line staff.

‘Violence against our staff is all too often deliberate and intentional, and while the severity changes, the impact on our staff does not,’ he said in the statement.

‘Staff suffer not just physical injuries, but also the psychological effects – many who have been assaulted subsequently find the prospect of dealing with patients challenging or traumatic.’

Almost a quarter of NHS nurses and midwives in England faced violence at work in 2019, the latest NHS Staff Survey suggests.

Can affect team confidence and morale

Mr Cubbon added that staff members’ self-confidence could be seriously affected, along with team morale.

'Our staff are people; they are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters,’ he wrote. ‘When they are attacked, they become victims just like any other, but victims who have been attacked while trying to help others.’

Hampshire Constabulary’s investigating officer PC Simon Collins said: ‘We take all assaults against our colleagues in the emergency services seriously and will take action to ensure those responsible are held accountable.’

Ms Tompkins has been ordered to pay £400 in compensation – £100 each to the police officer and nurse and £200 to the hospital for the damaged equipment.


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