A SHOCKING staff survey has revealed 125 incidents of assault against employees at West Mid last year.
Five of workers who completed the questionnaire said they experienced physical violence from colleagues, including managers, in 2011, with one reporting over 10 counts of physical assault in the year.
Just over a fifth of workers – 54 out of 258 – suffered verbal abuse from a colleague or manager while a further 45 said they had been physically assaulted by patients, their relatives or members of the public.
A further 28 workers reported verbal abuse from the public.
A spokeswoman from health workers union, Unison, said: "Violence is a serious issue in the NHS not only with staff in hospital but with paramedics too.
“Any attack is too many and we want to see a zero tolerance response. The staff are there to help people and should not be worried they are going to get attacked while doing so.”
She added: “Hospitals need to make sure furniture such as chairs can’t used as weapons and they need to look at things like staffing levels and the design of some of the buildings.
“For example if there are long corridors where people can be feel vulnerable or occasions where they are left working on their own.”
A spokesman for the hospital said: “The safety of our patients, visitors and staff is of utmost importance. However, by the nature of our work inevitably there are occasions when patients who are feeling vulnerable, anxious or confused can become aggressive.
“We provide conflict resolution training for staff who have direct contact with patients and we have on open culture of reporting any incident of abuse, whether physical or non-physical.
“But we do acknowledge that some staff may accept this as being part of their job.
“We operate a zero tolerance approach for abusive patients, but try to work with them to explain the standards of behaviour that are expected.”
He added security at the hospital were extensively trained in how to deal with aggression and the hospital worked closely with community police.
He said: “Last year we treated over 100,000 patients in A&E, saw almost a quarter of a million outpatient attendances, had over 45,000 inpatient admissions and delivered close to 5,000 babies. Therefore, the number of incidents are extremely low when compared to the number of patients we treated.”
West Mid had a total workforce of around 1,700 at the time of the survey.