Assault toll on Wigan hospital workers revealed

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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Staff working at the borough’s hospitals have been attacked hundreds of times over the past two years, it can be revealed.

There were 288 assaults on employees of Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust in 2016-17.

A further 223 incidents have been recorded so far for the current financial year.

The shocking figures were revealed after the Post submitted a request to the trust under the Freedom Of Information Act.

Details of the nature of the assaults, where they took place and in which departments the staff worked were not provided, as the trust said they did not record them.

The data shows the dangers that health workers in the borough face when they are doing their jobs.

But many of the incidents were not reported to the police, according to hospital bosses.

A trust spokesman said: “Many of the assaults on staff that take place at Wrightington, Wigan And Leigh NHS Foundation Trust are as a direct result of staff caring for elderly confused patients or those with mental health problems.

“There are also some patients who become aggressive under the influence of alcohol or drugs whereby we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in relation to this behaviour.

“This is reiterated with communications throughout the hospital sites.

“As a result, many actual assaults are not reported to the police or result in an arrest as this would often be wholly inappropriate.”

Measures are in place to protect staff working for the trust, which runs Wigan and Leigh infirmaries, Wrightington Hospital, Thomas Linacre Centre and the eye unit at Boston House.

The spokesman said: “The trust has a policy entitled Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults which guides staff in dealing with this group of patients. Additionally, all staff receive mandatory training in relation to safeguarding and conflict resolution.

“During the Christmas period, our partners at Greater Manchester Police provide a police presence in our A&E department to ensure the safety of our staff and to act as an extra deterrent.

However, there is always security available on all sites and a dedicated security office within A&E.

“While we cannot quantify the impact these assaults have on our staff, we do have full supportive measures in place and offer counselling and complimentary resilience courses.” Attacks on public sector workers are becoming increasingly common, with critics blaming staff shortages caused by government cuts as a factor in the rising number of attacks."