Staff at King’s College NHS Trust – the body that manages King’s College Hospital among others – are more likely to be abused or harassed by the public than average, according to new statistics.
Findings from the latest annual NHS Staff Survey show that 36% of staff members said they had experienced “harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives or the public” in the last twelve months.
On average, 28% of staff at other acute NHS trusts across the country said they have experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from patients, relatives or the public.
The stat puts King’s College Trust in the worst performing fifth of all the acute Trusts in the country for staff being abused by the public.
In response to the survey’s findings, the Trust has launched an anti-bullying campaign, ‘Not a Target’, which starkly warns that being abusive may result in prosecution or refusal of treatment.
A Trust spokesperson told the News: “We take accusations of bullying or harassment very seriously. In response to our 2017/18 staff survey results we launched a campaign to help tackle abuse from patients and the public.
“The campaign makes it clear that verbal or physical abuse may result in refusal of treatment or prosecution.
“Bullying, abuse or harassment by staff towards colleagues is unacceptable and is treated as a disciplinary offence.
“There are a number of channels available for staff to report allegations and support is available via a confidential helpline.”
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The Trust’s campaign comes as the Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced a crackdown on violence targeting NHS staff.
The new ‘Assaults on Emergency Workers (Offences) Act’ has also recently passed into law, doubling the maximum sentence for assaulting an emergency worker from six months to a year.
Speaking to the Royal College of Nursing last month, Mr Hancock said: “NHS staff dedicate their lives to protecting and caring for us in our times of greatest need and for any one of them to be subject to aggression or violence is completely unacceptable.”
Sarah Gorton, of the staff union UNISON, added: “No one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work ? especially when all they’re trying to do is help people.”
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