Revealed: Total of 65 physical assaults on Harrogate hospital staff

Harrogate hospital staff were subjected to 65 physical assaults over a 12 month period between 2014 and 2015.

Friday, 18th December 2015, 9:30 am
Figures released from NHS protect

However, just one led to a criminal conviction.

New figures released from NHS Protect revealed that 42 of those assaults were related to a medical condition such as being under medication, suffering from dementia, a severe learning disability or post operation.

However, 35 per cent of those originated despite no relevant medical factors but, despite this, only one criminal sanction was gained from these 23 incidents.

In October, a 24-year-old woman pleaded guilty to assaulting a Harrogate District Hospital nurse after drinking a bottle and a half of wine.

Stuart Kelly, local security management specialist at the hospital, said that while incidents like this were the minority, they were still disappointing neverth


He said: “That particular case did progress with a prosecution after it went to court .

“It sends out the strong message that we do not tolerate such behaviour against our staff.

“We will prosecute where it’s found to be that it’s not down to any clinical issue and the organisation will support those staff if they want to take the case to the police.

“When a patient is admitted a risk assessment will be undertaken and arrangements put in place if the patient is known to be potentially violent or aggres


“However, everyone who walks in A+E needs treatment and you have got no background on them unless they have been previously known and we have a record of them on our patient records systems.”

The 24-year-old was given a deferred sentence after drunkenly stumbling into the ward sister on duty and pulling them both to the ground.

Mr Kelly explained that in any instance of assaults on staff, the hospital offers a consulting service, conflict resolution training and the option of informing the


While the number of assaults on staff has dropped from 71 reported incidents last year, Mr Kelly stressed that all incidents were taken seriously and advice and support is always on


He said: “Hopefully the vast majority of these incidents are very minor and clinically related but every incident that gets reported I get to know about.

“A lot of the time, the staff member does not want to report the incident to police because the patient did not know what they were doing at the time.

“I would like to think we are proactive in dealing with these types of cases.

“But we are dealing with a huge turnover of patients presenting for the first time which is always a difficult situation.”