THERE were 166 incidents of staff being physically assaulted while they were at work at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust last year, writes Kate Liptrot.

Figures for 2012/13 show there were 166 recorded assaults.

Of these, 131 of the assaults occurred when the perpetrator did not know what they were doing or did not know it was wrong due to treatment, medical or mental illness, but in 35 instances there was not a medical factor involved.

There were 19 or 20 assaults per 1,000 members of staff over the year, according to the figures from NHS Protect.

No criminal sanctions were pursued at the Trust in connection with the assaults, figures show.

A spokeswoman for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Security on the hospital site is a priority for the Trust, and any incident of violence or aggression against our staff is one too many. We aim to provide a safe and secure place for staff, visitors and patients. We have security guards on site 24 hours a day, and the site is covered by CCTV.

“On occasion our security team will be present if a patient is violent or aggressive so that we are able to provide medical treatment to those who require it. In extreme cases treatment arrangements are made for this to be carried out with a police presence.” Meanwhile, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – which is responsible for mental health provision in Leeds, York, Selby and parts of North Yorkshire – recorded 1,506 assaults.

Of these 1491 involved medical factors where perpetrators did not know what they were doing or that it was wrong and 15 did not. There were about 456 to 459 assaults per 1,000 members of staff. In 14 instances, criminal sanctions were secured.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service recorded 68 physical assaults – ten were medically related and 58 were not.

Criminal sanctions were followed through in 16 instances.