Just before Christmas, NHS Protect released their Reported Physical Assaults on NHS Staff in 2015/2016. NHS Staff should never be put in a position where they do not feel safe at work. In a profession where the individual’s role is to aid and help others, they need to be suitably equipped with the skills and training needed to keep themselves and those in their care safe.
Within the Acute sector last year (not including Mental Health, Ambulance and Community Care), the reported physical assaults on NHS staff figures have risen by 4.44%; from 19,167 in 2014/2015 to 20,018 in 2015/2016. The increase of 851 assaults were broken down into assaults involving medical factors and assaults that do not involve medical factors.
Out of the 851 assaults, 628 of those were involving medical factors, which works out as a staggering 74%.
NHS Protect state in the report that in the case of the assaults involving medical factors, the perpetrator did not know what they were doing, or did not know that what they were doing was wrong. Medical factors can include severe learning disabilities, mental illness, delirium, detoxification, brain injury, withdrawal and dementia.
In-line with the total assaults, the assaults which involve medical factors has also risen by 4.44% which means that although the previous figure of 74% is substantial it correlates to last year’s report.
The assaults involving medical factors percentage normally stands at around three quarters of all assaults on NHS Acute staff every year; but if we are learning more and more about different illnesses and how to work with them, why isn’t it lowering?
All front-line staff have mandatory training in Conflict Resolution but does that extend far enough to deal with the medical factors causing conflict?
Within specific wards and emergency services, staff should feel empowered and comfortable to handle situations that are more likely to occur in that environment. An example would be that the team within a dementia ward should have Dementia Awareness Training and Managing Challenging Behaviour Training for when a patient becomes confused or disorientated and therefore becomes aggressive, whether that be through language or physical.
IKON Training works with clients to lower these figures. Across our NHS Acute clients, IKON Training has lowered the assaults involving medical factors by 11%; the main reason behind it is that we talk to both the clients and the delegates to understand what they face day-to-day, and tailor the training to those situations.