Five NHS staff safety statistics you need to know
30 Nov 2023
The National Health Service, or NHS, is a cornerstone of the UK’s welfare state, playing a vital role in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the nation. Yet despite their importance in protecting the public, NHS staff face an increasing rate of abuse from patients and members of the public, resulting in staff injury, absenteeism, and patient care.
In this blog, we explore five safety statistics, their impact on the healthcare service and potential solutions to address the issues.
Here are five staff safety statistics you need to know.
14.3% of NHS staff have experienced at least one incident of violence in the last 12 months (NHS England Staff Survey)
A staggering 14.3% of NHS staff have experienced some type of physical violence at work in the last 12 months, as reported by an NHS England Survey. This equates to over 100,000 cases of staff violence reported in the last year. Abuse of healthcare staff is a serious issue with potentially severe consequences. Beyond physical injury, violence at work can have a lasting impact on the moral and mental wellbeing of staff ultimately affecting their ability to carry out work effectivity. This can cause a dangerous ripple effect in which staff may be unable to provide adequate and accurate patient care.
46.8% of staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress (NHS England)
It is clear the NHS is currently under a huge amount of strain largely due to the gross understaffing of institutions across the country. It is therefore of huge concern that 46.8% of staff reported feeling unwell as a result of work-related stress in the last 12 months. Although alarming, as discussed, it is not a surprising stat. Violence in the workplace does not merely result in physical injuries but can have a severe and lasting impact on the mental health of staff, fuelling the staffing crisis and impacting running costs. Preventing abuse toward NHS employees is not only essential for protecting the physical health of staff, but of the NHS as we currently know it.
4,000 callouts to Police Scotland in the last five years were for instances of violence
The rise in violent acts is also impacting the police force. It was reported by STV that police received nearly 10,000 calls from healthcare facilities, almost 4,000 of these were for instances of violence. This is another front-line service that is showing cracks in the current economy, and they do not have the facilities nor the budget to consistently facilitate these calls. David Threadgold, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “is becoming unsustainable from a policing perspective.”
Pinpoint devices help staff raise the alarm before acts of violence get out of hand and require the assistance of the police, taking the strain off this much-needed community service.
Those working in mental health facilities experience higher levels of abuse compared with workers in any other NHS Trust (RCN)
The Royal College of Nursing found that healthcare workers in mental health trusts experience a higher level of violence than other NHS employees. Caring for mentally ill patients can already be an incredibly difficult working environment for NHS staff, only exacerbated by the threat of potential violence. In this instance, however, patients are much more vulnerable and may pose a threat of violence to not just staff, but themselves. It is vital to equip staff with the necessary devices and training to ensure that both employees and their patients are safe from harm.
The number of violent attacks on NHS workers has increased by a third since the start of the pandemic (NHS Scotland)
The COVID-19 pandemic added an extra layer of pressure on healthcare workers however we still see the lasting effects of this pandemic on most services across the nation. According to Health.org, the pandemic has “driven increased demand for health care, growing waiting lists and a substantial elective care backlog”, as well as leaving staff feeling overwhelmed and burned out. It is somewhat understandable why the levels of violence have increased. Frustrated patients and their family members interacting with overworked staff, creates a tense and dangerous environment that frequently turns violent.
Having a Pinpoint device on their person, NHS staff can retain control of patient/family interactions and hopefully prevent situations of violence.
How Pinpoint can help
Pinpoint’s P2 System works to reduce the threat of violence in NHS settings. Found in NHS Trusts throughout the UK, the discreet, accessible design of the P2 PITs ensures staff can easily and subtly activate calls for Assistance and Emergency should an incident take place. And, when a call is made from a staff panic alarm, our system can pinpoint the exact location and nature of active calls.
Crucially, the Pinpoint System has been shown to prevent aggressive behaviour from service users. The knowledge that staff can call for help has been seen to reduce the rate of violence in several units. The impact of this includes improved staff morale, a reduction in staff turnover, and improved patient care.
These statistics demonstrate the extent of aggression toward NHS staff in the UK today. Changing this requires a combined strategy of training, police intervention and specialist staff safety systems.
Pinpoint’s P2 staff attack system offers a powerful solution to minimise harm through swift de-escalation and intervention. Installing these systems within NHS Trusts is critical to preventing the statistics above from worsening.
Does your workplace require an efficient, reliable staff safety system? Get in touch with us