One in three British nurses attacked at work

Almost a third of UK nurses suffer frequent violence at work, according to new research.

UNISON has condemned the findings, which reveal one of the highest rates in Europe. Only in France are more nurses attacked.

The study, published in the journal Occupational Medicine, found that 29% of UK nurses had suffered frequent violent incidents at the hands of patients or their relatives.

“These statistics should make people in the UK ashamed,” said Gail Adams, UNISON’s head of nursing.

“It is totally unacceptable for nurses to face rising levels of violence, when all they are trying to do is help and care for their patients.”

More needs to be done to protect staff, Ms Adams said.

She stressed that prevention is the key, coupled with better training and tough penalties for anyone found guilty of assault.

And she urged hospitals to review the support they offer staff, to ensure they offer good occupational health services.

“The survey shows many feel abandoned and depressed following an assault, which should not be allowed to happen.”

The researchers surveyed 39,894 nurses in 10 countries.

They found that violence had wide-reaching effects including recruitment and retention problems, increased amounts of sick leave and burnout.

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