Calls for get tough action over attacks on NHS Forth Valley staff

Forth Valley Royal  Hospital.Forth Valley Royal  Hospital.
Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
Recorded instances of physical and verbal abuse towards NHS Forth Valley staff has risen to its highest level in at least a decade, according to the Scottish Conservatives.

Using figures obtained under Freedom of Information legislation the Tories say that in 2018-19 - the latest year for which figures are available - there were 909 cases of physical abuse towards staff and 733 instances of verbal abuse.

Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Dean Lockhart says NHS workers will continue to be at tisk unless more is done to punish the culprits.

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He said: “Our hard-working NHS staff are exemplary, and any verbal or physical assault is completely unacceptable and should be treated with the utmost seriousness.

“These are caring professionals who put themselves on the line to protect us- the very least they should expect is to go about their jobs without the threat of violence and verbal abuse.

“I am therefore very concerned about the sharp increase in these recorded instances across NHS Forth Valley and I shall be in contact with the health board to see what more can be done to protect staff”.

He added: “I am also alarmed to see figures that only 190 people nationally were convicted under the Emergency Workers Act in 2017/18.

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“Progress on tackling violence against NHS staff will never be made unless we start getting tough on those responsible for it.”

NHS Forth Valley, responding to the concerns, has stressed it takes the safety of staff very seriously, and that the number of physical assaults and verbal abuses cases has fallen in the past year.

It says it does everything possible to reduce violence and aggression, and points out that security staff - with CCTV back-up - are available 24 hours per day.