Eight attacks per day on NHS staff in South Yorkshire

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Health staff in South Yorkshire are assaulted more than eight times per day, new figures have revealed.

More than 3,100 attacks took place on paramedics, nurses, doctors and other workers last year – an increase on the 2,800 assaults carried out in 2012-13.

However, only 46 of those who carried out attacks last year faced criminal sanctions.

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The highest number of attacks last year in South Yorkshire took place on workers from Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, with 1,143 incidents recorded – compared to 805 in 2012-13.

In both years, no criminal action was taken against any perpetrator.

Clive Clarke, trust deputy chief executive, said better awareness and reporting had contributed to the increase of incidents.

He said: “The majority of the incidents are ‘lower level’ types of violence, such as pushing and shoving, that may well have not been reported previously.”

There were also more than 1,000 attacks on staff working for Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust.

More than 200 assaults took place at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, a further 200 on staff at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals trust and more than 160 on workers for Sheffield Children’s trust.

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Paramedics at Yorkshire Ambulance Service suffered more than 110 attacks, as did staff at Barnsley Hospital, while 76 assaults were recorded at Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust.

But Professor Hilary Chapman, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals chief nurse, said the figures should be treated with caution, as they include accidental incidents which were often a result of a patient’s medical condition.

She said of the trust’s 230 reported incidents last year, only 22 were deliberate.

Charlie Carruth, Unison regional organiser, said growing pressures on NHS budgets was leading to frustration from patients – with some lashing out at staff.