Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals have teamed up with police to crack down on violence against staff – revealing a shocking 219 assaults on front-line nurses and doctors across the Trust from April to September 2018.
The Trust, which manages the hospitals, has also permanently excluded 38 people for abuse – meaning they can only get emergency treatment – and issued 236 warnings to people for their unacceptable behaviour.
The pact with the Met aims to encourage staff to report violent and abusive behaviour by patients and visitors.
It marks the next stage of a campaign to keep staff safe which has seen security personnel wearing body-worn cameras.
Dame Eileen Sills, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We want staff to feel safe and supported when they come to work.
“Whilst I absolutely understand that coming to hospital can be a very stressful experience any unprovoked violence and aggression towards staff is unacceptable.
“We have made a commitment with Lambeth and Southwark police to work together to tackle violence and antisocial behaviour towards our staff and make sure any offenders are pursued through the courts if necessary.”
DCI Simon Messinger, who oversees police in Southwark and Lambeth, signed the pact on behalf of the Met.
He said: ““We are committed to providing the same protection under the law to our colleagues across healthcare services. When NHS staff report an incident, we will put the victim first and take positive action.”
Assaults across the Trust have decreased from 274 between April and September 2017 – which Jayne King, Head of Security, attributed to the use of body cameras.
She said: “Being attacked should never just be part of the job for our staff.
“Whilst the number of incidents is still far too high I’m pleased to see the body cameras worn by the security team are acting as a deterrent and helping us to issue more sanctions to offenders.”
Other parts of the campaign to keep staff safe include guides for dealing with challenging behaviour and posters displaying the true-life stories of staff attacked by patients and visitors.
King’s College NHS Trust has also run a campaign targeting staff abuse, which starkly warned that abusive patients could be refused treatment or prosecuted.
As the News reported in November, 36% of staff members at the Trust – which oversees King’s College Hospital – said they had experienced “harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public” in the previous twelve months.
In September the maximum sentence for assaulting healthcare workers was doubled from six to 12 months in prison.