Statistics show that in just one area of Lancashire and Cumbria, the number of hospital staff assaulted at work reached almost 400 in one year. The problem is so great that the Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has taken drastic action to protect its staff – and recruited bouncers to try and prevent this kind of workplace assault.
What is assault at work?
An assault at work can be a physical assault. Incidents that have been reported across the medical profession include doctors and nurses being punched or grabbed by the throat, or staff having chairs thrown at them. An assault at work can also be a verbal assault, when patients or others threaten or abuse the doctors, nurses and other hospital staff trying to help them.
While all responsible employers should carry out risk assessments in connection with any role, it’s particularly important to do so in these ‘public-facing’ roles. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare and administrative staff are in contact with members of the public at what is undoubtedly a stressful time for those people – but no person should be assaulted while carrying out their job.
The medical director of the Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, David Walker, explains
“Everyone has the right to work in a safe and secure environment. If any of our staff feel threatened by anyone while at work, we actively encourage them to report it. We have been working hard to help staff understand that they shouldn’t tolerate any threatening behaviour towards them. Our staff are now reporting incidents that they may have previously seen as ‘just part of the job’.”
It’s shocking to think that doctors and nurses, health care and administrative staff in hospitals might be prepared to accept some level of violence at work as part of the job. It’s good to see that this NHS trust is taking steps to change that attitude. If you do suffer an assault at work, you should always report it – however trivial you think the incident is. And while it is a sad state of affairs that this Trust has seen the need to employ bouncers to protect its staff, it shows the extent to which some employers may have to go to properly look after their staff. The reality is that assaults at work can leave physical scars and also long lasting psychological issues which can impact on day to day life for months or even years after the attack at work.
New protection for Emergency Workers from Violence at work
As we recently reported, in connection with alarming statistics about how frequently emergency service workers experience violence at work, a private member’s bill has been put forward to double the maximum sentence for common assault against an emergency worker. This will cover some health care workers, but won’t necessarily protect all nursing staff such as those working in the Morecombe Bay Foundation Trust.
Claiming compensation for an assault at work
If you are assaulted at work, you may be entitled to compensation . This could include a claim for compensation against your employer if you have been assaulted at work and your employer did not take the steps it should have done to protect you. You may also be entitled to compensation under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme, and, in some cases, compensation directly from the person who attacked you.
How Truth Legal can help with your workplace assault compensation
We are workplace lawyers, committed to understanding what has happened to you and making sure you receive appropriate compensation. We can also take over your case if you have another firm of solicitors acting for you and you are unhappy with how things are going. Many people use the solicitors recommended to them by their insurance companies, but you are not obliged to do this. We often take on cases once someone decides to switch solicitors.
If you’ve suffered violence at work – we can help!