Ipswich: Doctors and nurses at Ipswich Hospital subjected to more than 600 attacks in five years

Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road.

Ipswich Hospital, Heath Road. - Credit: Archant

More than 650 physical and verbal attacks have been inflicted on staff at Ipswich Hospital in the last five years, new figures reveal.

Nurses, doctors and non-clinical staff have had to bear 450 physical assaults and 214 verbal tirades, while going about their daily jobs caring for people at the hospital.

Attacks reached a high last year when 101 physical assaults and 42 verbal attacks were hurled at staff.

But in recording the incidents the hospital distinguishes between clinical and security attacks. Last year 105 of the assaults were classed as clinical and 38 as security.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “Clinical incidents are cases where a patient became violent, aggressive or abusive due to their condition, for example a patient suffering dementia who became violent as they were confused.

“A security incident is when a patient is violent and it is not attributable to a medical condition.”

The figures to date for this year revealed the number of attacks appear to be falling. So far 20 physical assaults and incidents of verbal abuse have been recorded.

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Jan Ingle, hospital spokeswoman said one assault on staff is one too many.

She said: “The figures for this year are very encouraging, they actually show a decline so far. But obviously one assault on staff is one too many. We have absolutely zero tolerance towards people who knowingly behave badly to staff who are actually trying to help people.

“There is a fast track procedure in place with Suffolk Police and South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court so anyone convicted of such an assault is fast tracked through the criminal justice system.

“It is important to make a big distinction between those people we are caring for who have no knowledge of what they are doing. In those situations it is not malicious.”

What do you think? Tell us your health stories. Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk