Physical assaults on NHS staff in England increased by 10% last year, according to latest figures compiled by the health worker union Unison and the Health Service Journal.
The number of reported assaults went up from 51,447 in 2015–2016 to 56,435 in 2016–2017, the data revealed.
UNISON said the increase was higher in some trusts — especially those struggling with waiting lists and finances — compared with others.
Trusts that treated 90% or fewer of their patients within the government’s 18-week referral target for elective treatment had an average increase in reported assaults of 36%.
Assaults on staff working in trusts that were more than £20m in the red were up 23% on the previous year. This compares to an increase of 1.5% for trusts which had a surplus of more than £5m.
And assaults on staff working in mental health trusts rose to 33,820 in 2016/2017 — a 5% increase compared to the previous 12 months.
Sara Gorton, head of health at Unison, said: “It’s no accident that trusts where the pressures seem the most extreme have seen the steepest rise in the number of attacks.”
The data were compiled following Freedom of Information requests made to all 244 NHS trusts in England, of which 181 trusts responded.