‘Deeply concerning’ figures show 94,000 assaults on NHS staff

Scottish Labour obtained "deeply concerning" statistics showing there were 65,996 physical attacks on staff in last five years.

'Deeply concerning': Assaults on NHS staff NHS
'Deeply concerning': Assaults on NHS staff

NHS workers have suffered almost 94,000 verbal and physical assaults in the last five years, figures have revealed.

Scottish Labour obtained “deeply concerning” statistics showing there were 65,996 physical attacks on health service staff between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

A total of 27,946 verbal assaults were recorded, according to the data, which was disclosed under freedom of information laws.

That amounts to a total of 93,942 verbal and physical attacks over the five-year period.


There were 16,024 physical assaults and 4501 verbal assaults recorded on staff in Scotland’s largest health board, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

It had the highest number of physical attacks on staff, but verbal assaults were higher in NHS Grampian, where 5549 incidents were registered.

Across Scotland police were called to deal with 2675 physical assaults on NHS staff and 951 verbal attacks.

Labour health spokeswoman Monica Lennon said: “It is deeply concerning that our hard-working NHS staff are faced with any form of abuse while carrying out their duties.


“It is absolutely vital that our health service is properly funded to make sure staff numbers are at a safe and appropriate level, with investment in bridging other frontline services and third sector bodies.

“Nobody should have to go to work knowing they could face a verbal or physical attack while they’re trying to do their job.

“Scottish Labour would put the NHS at the heart of our policy-making, ensuring our hospitals are safe spaces for staff, patients and their families.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Any violence or aggression against our NHS staff is absolutely unacceptable.

“Data collected from boards show incidents of violence and aggression fell between 2017-18 and 2018-19 and we expect all health boards to commit to supporting appropriate action, including prosecution where appropriate.

“Policies are in place, supported by regular training and support for staff including employee assistance programmes, trauma counselling services and pastoral support, to ensure a safe working environment.”

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