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More than a quarter of ambulance staff ‘sexually harassed by public’

More than 58,000 NHS staff reported sexual assaults and harassment from patients, their relatives and other members of the public in 2023 in the health service’s annual survey.

For the first time ever, the NHS staff survey for England asked workers if they had been the target of unwanted sexual behaviour, which includes inappropriate or offensive sexualised comments, touching and assault.

Of the 675,140 NHS staff who responded, more than 84,000 reported sexual assaults and harassment by the public and other staff last year.

About 1 in 12 (58,534) said they had experienced at least one incident of unwanted sexual behaviour from patients, patients’ relatives and other members of the public in 2023.

Almost 26,000 staff (3.8%) also reported unwanted sexual behaviour from colleagues.

Rates were highest among ambulance workers, with more than 27% reporting sexual harassment from the public and just over 9% from colleagues.

The survey also found record numbers of health workers experienced discrimination, including racism, sexism, homophobia and ableism, from patients and colleagues last year.

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Source: The Guardian, 7 March 2024


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