Zimmer frame and jug used in attacks on hospital staff

IPSWICH: A zimmer frame was among the weapons used to attack staff at Ipswich Hospital, new documents revealed today.

Others included a “helping hand” reaching claw and a water jug.

However figures released after a Freedom of Information Act request show that the number of assaults at the Heath Road hospital has dropped in the last year – from 94 in 2008/09 to 58 in 2009/10.

Of the 58 assaults between September 2009 and September 2010, 57 amounted to physical abuse and one of these involved a weapon.

The previous year there were 94 assaults – 91 of these were physical and three involved weapons.

Among the physical abuse attacks were grabs, pinches, slaps, punches and pushes.

The hospital said it does not hold accurate information on the action taken as a result of the assaults, as sometimes they are reported to police instead.

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Ian Cheal, head of security at the hospital, said additional training had recently been given to staff to help them deal with assaults.

Mr Cheal said: “We have a zero-tolerance approach to violence and aggression, including verbal abuse, and every incident is an incident too many.

“It is imperative to us that our staff have the right to work, and patients the right to be treated, free from fear of assault and abuse in an environment that is safe and secure.

“We do take a proactive approach to try to prevent incidents, as well as dealing with them when they happen, and we have recently been providing additional training for staff.”

n Have you been attacked at the hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

n University status boost for hospital – page 23