Hundreds of NHS staff in Bristol experience 'violence and aggression' from patients

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Hundreds of NHS staff working in Bristol have experienced 'violence and aggression' in the last six months, according to the health board.

The University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust (UHBW) has said that around 300 staff have been abused by patients.

It says the problem has become so serious that it has now employed two victim support officers to help staff.

It also added that it is working with the police on 37 active criminal investigations, including 29 cases which are already being prosecuted.

UHBW: 'Many incidents where people are simply abusive, and this is not okay'

Emma Wood, deputy chief executive said that it was “very unusual” for UBHW to try to prosecute so many alleged offenders but that it was important staff felt confident that reports of incidents would be taken seriously.

She said: “Incidents of verbal or physical abuse can have a devastating impact on the hardworking staff who experience them.

“We know that there will be occasions when patients become confused or stressed in unfamiliar environments which can lead to challenging behaviour – and staff are trained to deal with this.

“But there are also many incidents where people are simply abusive, and this is not okay."

Emma Wood added: “To support colleagues who have been victims of violence or aggression at work, we have appointed two victim support officers, which is a new role.

“In the last six months, these officers have supported 300 members of staff and their work with local police has resulted in 37 active investigations, the majority of which are being progressed through the criminal justice system.”

Jayne Mee, the chairwoman of the board, told a UHBW meeting on 18 April: “I’m so sorry to hear that our staff are subject to that because we have made some really good progress. It’s such a shame that is happening.”

More than half of the incidents (58%) have taken place in the trust’s medicine division, which includes the Bristol Royal Infirmary emergency department.

This is followed by 17% at Weston General Hospital, 11% in the surgery division and 6% in women’s and children’s services.

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service