HUNDREDS of health staff in Tayside were physically or sexually attacked last year at work — with more than one incident recorded every day.
There were 444 incidents of “aggressive physical behaviour” by patients towards a staff member employed by NHS Tayside between April 2015 and March this year.
In the same time period, there were 156 recorded “physical, sexual and verbal/racial” assaults — carried out by either patients, visitors or other staff members — against employees.
These figures represent incidents that involved more than one type of attack at the same time.
When incidents of “aggressive verbal behaviour” are factored in, it relates to almost two incidents every day.
A large majority of the assaults were carried out against nursing and midwifery staff.
Norman Provan, associate director of the Royal College of Nursing Scotland, called the figures “shocking”.
He said: “Aggression, violence or threats of violence against staff are completely unacceptable.
“It’s shocking that staff, who are run off their feet trying to treat and care for people who are sick or injured, are being subjected to such incidents.
“And because nursing staff deliver the majority of care and are the largest staff group in the NHS, they are disproportionately affected by such behaviours.
“The health board has a duty of care to protect its staff and must make clear to patients and their families that it will report all incidents to the police and seek a conviction, if appropriate.”
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman insisted it didn’t tolerate violence against staff.
She said: “NHS Tayside vigorously enforces its very strict, zero-tolerance policy to any kind of violence, both physical and verbal, against any member of our staff, patients or visitors.
“Staff are actively encouraged to report all episodes, no matter how minor, on our electronic incident reporting system.
“We take each and every incident extremely seriously, as it is a fundamental right of our staff that they can carry out their duties without having to face any kind of violence or the threat of violence.”