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Northumbria reminds public ‘it’s not okay’ to abuse staff after rise in incidents

Thursday, 10 September, 2020
Northumbria reminds public ‘it’s not okay’ to abuse staff after rise in incidents

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust is reminding the public that ‘it’s not okay’ to abuse its staff after a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on frontline workers in Northumberland and North Tyneside.

In 2020 there has been a 36% increase in the total number of incidents against staff reported with instances of verbal abuse more than doubling from the same period last year.


More than a third of the total number of incidents were at the trust’s Northumbria hospital at Cramlington with almost half of these in the emergency department.


Recent incidents at the hospital have seen nurses left extremely distressed when a patient trashed their room and a security officer have his nose broken when restraining an aggressive patient.


The figures come in the wake of North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust highlighting a rise in attacks on its staff.


Last year, Northumbria launched its campaign to raise awareness among the public that ‘it’s not okay’ to raise their voice, to physically threaten or to swear and intimidate NHS workers. The trust is now reinforcing that message.


Dr Jeremy Rushmer, executive medical director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “During the coronavirus pandemic we saw an outpouring of overwhelming support for our NHS from the public and therefore it’s so very sad to see that the number of attacks on our staff has increased this year.


“To hear that colleagues are having to deal with this and have been left frightened by the actions of our patients is difficult to handle and totally unacceptable in today’s NHS.


“Whilst the vast majority of patients are respectful to our staff, growing numbers of them are not and we want to remind the public that their actions are putting enormous strain on our staff.


“Simply put our staff are there to do a job – please allow them to focus all of their efforts on providing the highest quality of care to our patients without having to deal with any kind of abuse.


“Apart from the psychological and physical impact this has on staff, colleagues also report the great distress these disturbances have on other patients and families who may be extremely vulnerable at times of serious illness.”


As part of the reminder, the trust is backing calls for tougher action against those who attack emergency workers.


The ‘it’s not okay’ campaign features real members of Northumbria staff urging people to ‘please treat us with respect’ highlighting that they ‘work hard every day to help care for you and other patients’.


It showcases a range of staff including a doctor, a nurse and a catering assistant plus a volunteer to emphasise that all members team can experience abuse, not just those in clinical roles.


Media contact:

Jaclyn Curry – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

0191 203 1654 / 07833 046680