Increase in assaults on medical staff in Havering and Redbridge

Queen's Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford

Queen's Hospital, Rom Valley Way, Romford - Credit: Archant

Medical staff working in Havering and Redbridge were the victims of more than 400 physical assaults over the past 12 months.

The figures, compiled by NHS Protect, show attacks rose from 359 in 2013/14 to 415 in the last year.

Nationally, there were 67,864 attacks in 2014/15.

The assaults were against staff working for Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) and the North East London NHS foundation trust (NELFT).

The majority involved “medical factors”, meaning they were carried out by people whose states of mind were impaired by illness, treatment or severe learning disabilities.

BHRUT, which runs King George Hospital, in Goodmayes and Queen’s Hospital, in Romford, reported a total of 122 assaults in 2014/15 – down from 159 in 2013/14.

Of these, 92 involved medical factors.

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Three criminal sanctions, which could include fines, prison sentences or community orders, were handed out as a result.

There were also six civil and administrative sanctions issued, which may include acceptable behaviour agreements, banning orders from premises or letters warning people of their conduct.

There were 293 assaults reported at NELFT, which provides community and mental health services across Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Redbridge, Waltham Forest and parts of Essex.

Of these, 288 involved medical factors. One criminal sanction was issued.

The number of incidents increased from 2013/14, in which 200 physical assaults were reported.

Wendy Matthews, BHRUT interim chief nurse, said: “The number of these kinds of incidents is low across our sites, but the safety of our staff is paramount, and we take any instances of physical or verbal abuse extremely seriously.

“We work closely with the local police, and have a community support officer based at Queen’s Hospital.

“In our hospitals, we care for some very vulnerable people, and we know that in some cases patients may not be completely aware of how abusive their actions can be against the very people who are trying to help them.

“Whenever a physical or verbal assault does take place, we provide full support.”