PATIENTS and staff at local hospitals including South Tyrone Hospital and Craigavon Area Hospital have suffered the greatest amount of physical violence in Northern Ireland.
Figures released by the Department of Health show that there were 7,770 attacks on patients, staff and relatives in the Southern Trust area over the past three years.
Nurses, doctors and non-clinical staff have had to bear 5396 physical assaults while going about their daily jobs caring for people in the Southern Trust area.
Belfast Trust had the second highest number of assaults, with the improvised weapons including chairs, cutlery, toys, walking sticks and shoes.
Worryingly, the amount of staff assaults has almost doubled in the past year, rising from 469 in 2011 to 907 in 2012.
Across Northern Ireland, the most recent figures for 2012/13 contain the highest incident rates over the past four years.
A Southern Trust spokesperson said its hospitals had porters on duty 24 hours a day who were “trained in dealing with violent and aggressive patients”.
It said its staff were also trained in how to manage violent situations and how to request immediate assistance from porters or the PSNI if necessary.
Assaulted staff are offered immediate treatment in the Accident and Emergency Department, as well as counselling and support.
A further breakdown within the Southern Trust also outlined that there were 33 assaults of patients at home, half of these were in 2012/13 and over one hundred (109) assaults on staff were at patients’ homes.
A ‘Zero Tolerance’ Campaign to protect staff was launched by the Department of Health in 2007, involving organisations such as the PSNI, Health and Social Care Trusts, the BMA.
Tell us your experiences of violence in local health care settings by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 028 87752801.