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NHS Tayside sees significant drop in cases of physical abuse reported

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Incidents of physical abuse towards NHS staff in Tayside are down, according to figures obtained by The Courier.

In 2014, there were 501 incidents of physical abuse toward staff members which decreased 12% to 439 in 2015 with cases set to decrease further with 360 cases reported up to November this year.

Physical assaults by patients make up around 70% of all aggressive incidents each year at NHS Tayside hospitals with the total number of all incidents down across the area.

Data from 2014 shows that there were 715 incidents, which include those of a physical, verbal and sexual nature, decreasing 5% in 2015 and is again on track to decrease further this year with 17% fewer cases so far.

George Doherty, NHS Tayside’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development said: “I welcome the reduction in the number of incidents of abuse experienced by our staff but as an organisation we are not complacent.

“NHS Tayside vigorously enforces its very strict zero tolerance policy to any kind of violence, both physical and verbal, against any member of our staff, patients or visitors.

“Staff are actively encouraged to report all episodes, no matter how minor, on our electronic incident reporting system.

“We take each and every incident extremely seriously as it is a fundamental right of our staff that they can carry out their duties without having to face any kind of violence or the threat of violence.”

Last month, the head of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust — one of the biggest in the UK — claimed there has been a spike in racist abuse towards staff members after the Brexit vote.

In NHS Tayside, cases of racial abuse number less than five in every year, including in 2016 to date.

In total, it was revealed in January that there had been almost 14,000 attacks on NHS staff across Scotland with other public services such as ambulance staff also often subjected to abuse by members of the public.

In a recent survey, a majority of Scottish ambulance staff reported having been attacked at some point while responding to 999 calls.

Most of the attacks took place when responding to alcohol-related incidents with two thirds of the 600-strong staff survey revealing they had been physically assaulted.

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