Why incidents of abuse to hospital staff has increased by more than half

More than 375 incidents of abuse to staff have been received by hospital trust bosses covering Hartlepool so far this year – an increase of almost 150 from last year.

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 7:39 am

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust recorded 376 incidents of violence to staff between April to December 2020 - a rise from 237 for the period in the previous year.

Yet officers said the increase is largely due to a change in the reporting process for the year, which allowed increased reporting for incidents that would not have been previously logged.

Of the 376 incidents reported during the period for 2020-21, 329 were for abuse of staff by patients, while 47 were for abuse of staff by another person.

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Officers said the increase is largely due to a change in the reporting process.

The most common type of incident reported was verbal abuse or disruption, which accounted for 132 reports, followed by other disruptive and aggressive behaviour, of which there were 93 incidents.

There had been 70 cases of physical abuse, assault or violence to staff which was “unintentional”, along with 28 incidents which were classed as “malicious”.

Meanwhile seven incidents had been reported of racial abuse, along with one incident of assault with a weapon.

There were 20 cases reported for “need for use of control and restraint with a patient”, 14 incidents of inappropriate behaviour and/or personal comments and 11 reports linked to concerns to do with personal safety.

The University Hospital of Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

It comes after looking at violent incidents had been listed as one of the trust’s priorities for 2020-21.

Keith Wheldon, business intelligence manager at the trust, speaking at the last council audit and governance committee meeting, provided details of how the reporting process changes contributed to the rise in incidents.

He said: “There has been a change in our processes for 2020-21 so we now have the security team and other areas like that submitting their incidents within our data system so that’s why there’s a non-comparable kind of benchmark against 2019-20.

“So even though there is a visual increase it’s just that there is a change of processes, so if those processes had been in place in the previous year you may have seen a comparable number.”

Details of where the incidents took place have not been revealed.

Read more: More than 50 vehicles stopped in Hartlepool crackdown on road offences

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