Rise in attacks on Redbridge NHS staff

King George Hospital

King George Hospital - Credit: Archant

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

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

The assaults were against staff working for the 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.

Over the last year, a total of 293 assaults have been reported at NELFT, which provides services at Goodmayes Hospital.

Of the attacks, 288 involved medical factors and one criminal sanction was issued.

The total number of incidents is up on the previous year, when there were 200 – all involving medical factors.

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BHRUT, which runs King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, reported a total of 122 assaults in the year 2014/15, with 92 involving medical factors.

This was a decrease from 159 assaults in 2013/14. Three criminal sanctions, which can include fines, prison sentences or community orders, were handed out as a result.

Six civil and administrative sanctions were also issued – these can include banning orders.

Wendy Matthews, BHRUT’s 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 police and have a community support officer based at Queen’s Hospital.

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

The Recorder has approached NELFT for a comment.