Of the 2450 staff from Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Primary Care that took part in the National Staff Survey last year, 18 per cent (441) said they had experienced physical violence from a patient or member of the public at work in the previous 12 months.
This figure, presented to the trust’s board of directors in a meeting on May 11 by Daniel Ratchford, of Quality Health, was significantly higher than the national average of 14 per cent across the sector.
Mr Ratchford commented: “More staff are experiencing physical violence in Chesterfield than they are in the average acute trust.”
The survey was conducted between September and December last year and also revealed staff were less likely to report an attack, with only 59 per cent saying they or a colleague had done so the last time they had experienced violence, compared to 66 per cent nationally.
Director of Finance and Contracting Lee Outhwaite commented that when the trust looked into incidents of violence previously the vast majority had been carried out by patients with delirium and dementia.
He said: “It is very linked into some of our most vulnerable patients and how we support them.”
Mr Outhwaite said staff training into how to hold patients and de-escalate situations needed to be revisited, but added it was possible some employees who had received the training hadn’t reported the attacks because they had successfully de-escalated the problem.
Chairman Dr Helen Phillips said a strategy addressing the issue would need to be well thought out and tested.
She added: “It needs a series of evidence-based actions and ones where we have some thought of where it is we’re trying to get to.”
Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer Berenice Groves said Joined Up Care Derbyshire, which combines the county’s health and social care organisations, had already begun work on an action plan to deal with violence against staff.
She said: “We’re building a strategy around that and making sure we’ve got policies and we’re really bringing violence and aggression to the forefront.”
Overall, the National Staff Survey yielded positive results for the trust, which performed significantly above the national average in almost all areas.
Dr Phillips said while the results were widely positive there was ‘no room for complacency’
She concluded: “In our ambition to be an outstanding trust we not only need to be better than the sector, we need to be as good as the best.”