When we go to work each day, the last thing we expect is to be violently attacked in the course of carrying out our duties.
Sadly, however, for many healthcare professionals, this is something that they have had to become aware of, because violence against NHS staff has reached its highest level in 5 years. In fact, 1 in 7 healthcare employees was attacked whilst carrying out their role last year.
These valuable front line staff are trained on the risks that come with their role and are taught how to deal with these but when it happens, the effects can be long lasting. An attack at work can cause physical and psychological injuries. Some victims never recover.
The government is introducing a new initiative to reduce assaults and increase the prosecutions of offenders. The NHS, Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are to work in partnership on this. In addition, care inspectors will scrutinise NHS Trust’s approaches to violence against staff and the ways they attempt to reduce then.
Improved training will be implemented for staff to deal with violent situations especially incidents involving patients with dementia or mental health issues. A new system for recording assaults on staff will also be introduced.
These measures are intended to bolster the “zero tolerance” approach to these crimes against emergency services and NHS Staff.
Victoria Price, Head of Personal Injury comments:
“When violence occurs at work, it affects people in different ways. The person or persons who have been attacked might suffer physical as well as psychological injuries.
The incident can also affect patients and other staff who witness the events. They may well be in shock afterwards and become frightened of it happening again. For the staff who are affected, they can become afraid of returning to work the next day or in the days following.
Those who have been assaulted will have to cope with their physical injuries, which can sometimes include scarring and long-term reminders of the event. They can also develop anxiety about returning to work and being on the front line again. Some people may also become depressed and withdrawn. Being away from work whilst they recover can make them feel isolated. They may have to survive on sick pay for a time. The impact of an attack at work can effect the families of the victim also.
Occupational Health will support staff who have been affected, however, often staff report difficulties accessing services such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapies. The actual return to work can be a difficult time as well. Some staff have to be relocated to other areas of the NHS which carry less risk. This can mean having to relocate geographically, travelling further distances every day and doing a job which is not the one they trained for or want.
The risk of violence faced may also deter people from applying for and remaining in much needed, crucial roles such as ambulance staff, A&E and acute mental health”.
If you are employed or have previously been employed by the NHS and you have been assaulted at work and you would like to make a claim for your injuries and losses, please contact us for a free, confidential conversation about your claim.