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Patient violence against staff falls to five-year low

The proportion of NHS staff who have experienced physical violence from patients has fallen to its lowest levels in five years, according to the latest survey data.

New figures showed the percentage of staff reporting at least one incident of physical violence from patients or the public, within the last 12 months, had declined from 15.1 per cent in 2019, down to 13.7 per cent in 2023. That is also almost one percentage point lower than 14.6 per cent in 2022, which is the biggest year-on-year percentage point fall in the five years. 

The 2023 NHS staff survey, first published in early March, was updated recently to include the questions on physical violence. NHS England said earlier this week it had received a “higher than expected rate of missing data” for the questions, which meant they were not originally reported, but these issues had now been resolved. 

However, ambulance workers remain disproportionately affected by physical violence compared to other roles, with 27.6 per cent saying they had experienced at least one instance of physical violence from patients or the public in the past year. This is down from 32.5 per cent five years ago in 2019.

Acute and community staff were the next highest (13.7 per cent), followed by mental health (13.5 per cent), community (7 per cent), and then acute specialist (5.3 per cent). 

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Source: HSJ, 5 June 2024


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