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Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, who has also contributed to numerous national business titles including Utility Week, the Municipal Journal, Environment Journal and consumer titles such as Classic Rock.

March 1, 2019

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Workplace violence

Violence in the NHS: One in five NHS staff experience harassment at work

Just under one in five NHS staff have personally having experienced harassment, bullying or abuse at work from other colleagues, according to a new survey.

doctorThe 2018 Staff Survey of NHS trusts and foundation trusts found the number of respondents who have experienced harassment has risen slightly from 18% in 2017 to 19.1% last year.

The survey was carried out between September and December 2018 across more than 300 NHS organisations.

It also revealed less than a third of NHS staff (28.6%) staff feel their organisation is taking positive action on health and wellbeing, which is a 3% drop from last year (31.8%)

And 27.6% of respondents said they had experienced musculoskeletal problems as a result of work activities in the last year, which is up almost 2% from 2017 (25.8%)

The survey also revealed that the number of NHS staff who reported experiencing physical violence from patients, relatives or members of the public fell marginally last year from 15.4% to 14.5%.

Commenting on the survey, Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “The combination of rising stress levels along with bullying and bad behaviour from managers and colleagues shows the pressure is really getting to staff. It’s a testament to them that they keep going, but the Government can’t expect this to continue.

“Ministers must get to grip with the pressing issue of chronic understaffing. or the health service’s problems will go from bad to worse.”

The survey comes a week after the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a new package of mental health measures to support NHS staff.

The measures include a dedicated mental health support service, to give staff confidential advice and support 24 hours a day if they’ve faced a stressful incident at work.

“NHS staff regularly go the extra mile for their patients and colleagues to deliver the best possible care, but it is equally important that local NHS trusts and foundation trusts are doing all they can to support our fantastic staff,” said NHS England’s Director of Patient Experience, Neil Churchill.

“Whilst there are a number of positives in this year’s survey, it is also clear that local employers can do more to improve and we would expect all trusts to listen to the results from their staff survey and take appropriate action.”

The full 2018 staff survey is available to read here.

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