Union bosses are calling for a “zero tolerance” approach after figures showed a rise in attacks on NHS Tayside staff in Perthshire jails.
Prison healthcare staff were attacked both physically and verbally 36 times while attending to their duties at HMP Perth and HMP Castle Huntly between 2015 and 2018.
NHS staff were physically attacked three times last year at Perth prison, in addition to nine reports of verbal attacks, figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show.
The rate in 2018 was the highest recorded over the four-year period at HMP Perth.
Union officials have now said their must be a “zero tolerance” approach to violence against NHS staff who are attending prisons.
Bob McGlashan, senior officer with the Royal College of Nursing said: “Health boards have a duty of care to protect their staff from attack.
“They need to take a zero tolerance approach to harassment or violence, report all incidents to the police and seek a conviction if appropriate.”
Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, which manages prison healthcare in Tayside, said it was committed to providing a safe working environment.
Gordon Paterson, chief officer for the partnership, said: “We will not accept any kind of violence, either physical or verbal, against any member of our staff.
“Healthcare staff who work in prisons, as well as visiting specialists, carry personal alarms and undertake personal protection training from Scottish Prison Service (SPS) staff.
“There are SPS officers in the prison health centre who are there to provide additional security and, where individuals are highlighted as a risk towards NHS staff, a joint management plan is agreed with SPS to ensure their safety.
“We work closely with SPS to support staff when any incidents do occur and there is an agreed process for reporting incidents to SPS who will take any action required.”
A spokesperson for the Scottish Prison Service said: “We recognise the importance of providing a safe environment for our staff and partner agencies, it is our policy that all assaults on staff are reported to the appropriate authorities.”