MORE than 200 staff have been assaulted at Wigan Infirmary in the past three years – yet only 11 arrests have been made, figures have revealed.
As a result of a Freedom of Information request, the Wigan Evening Post can reveal that 231 staff have been assaulted at the hospital in the past three years, yet the Police were called only 69 times to attended which lead to only 11 arrests at the hospital.
The statistics have caused concerned for bosses at health service union, Unison.
Neal Linsky, North West regional director for Unison, said: “Violence of any sort against staff in hospitals is unacceptable. Although the number of incidents at RAEI has steadily decreased, every single incident should be thoroughly investigated by the hospital and the police and the appropriate justice imposed on the perpetrator.”
In response, a spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL), which runs Wigan Infirmary, said: “Eleven assaults on staff are recorded within the Trust figures. However many of these 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.
“As a result many actual assaults are not reported to the police or result in an arrest as this would often be wholly inappropriate.
“The Trust has a policy entitled ‘Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults’ which guides staff in dealing with this group of patients. Additionally staff receive training in relation to Safeguarding and Conflict Resolution.
“On a positive note, the number of assaults on Trust staff has reduced from 94 in 2008/9 to 80 in 2009/10 and 57 in 2010/11 which gives the Trust assurance that the professionalism of its staff and the training being delivered is having a great impact in reducing this problem.”
Greater Manchester Police refused to comment on the statistics.
The issue has been a long-running problem in hospitals across the country over the last decade. In 2002 a report showed that two in five nurses had been assaulted on the job.