Staff at two Wandsworth hospitals are being assaulted every other day, it has been revealed.
A Freedom of Information request by the Wandsworth Times found that in 2018 alone, 159 hospital workers had been attacked at St George's Hospital.
It also showed that staff employed by South West London and St. George’s Mental Health Trust, who have three mental health wards at Queen Mary’s Hospital, had been physically assaulted 181 times last year.
A spokesman for St George's, where 820 assaults were recorded from 2013 to 2018, said that they take the safety of staff very seriously. "We have a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of physical or verbal abuse aimed at our staff.
"The safety of all our staff – who together make up Team St George’s – is paramount and we have a number of measures in place to protect them including conflict resolution training, alarm systems and having an onsite security team.
"While some of the assaults we see are non-intentional and relate to a medical reason, we take all incidents of violence seriously.
"We strongly encourage staff to report incidents of violence and aggression when they do occur through our internal processes, so we are able to report to the police and ensure staff are fully supported throughout."
The spokesman also emphasised that this was an issue affecting the NHS as a whole, not just St George's and that counselling services are also available to all staff including those who have been subject to abuse.
A spokesman for the Trust echoed that statement for its staff.
"We take the safety of our patients and staff very seriously," he said.
"Though physical aggression is rare on our wards, and the fact that people with mental ill health are for more likely to be attacked than hurt another person, we do have an average of eight incidents a month where our nursing staff are subject to some form of incident on the wards at Queen Mary’s Hospital.
"We have a very robust process for raising concerns and supporting staff if they are involved in an incident.
"All nurses are trained in managing incidents of this nature and we have several programmes and therapeutic practices in place to reducing and managing incidents.”
Below are the year by year breakdowns for how many of the respective staff have been assaulted at each hospital since 2013.
Queen Mary's Hospital Roehampton:
- 2013 - 90
- 2014 - 114
- 2015 - 186
- 2016 - 205
- 2017 - 196
- 2018 - 181
- 2019 (as of beginning of June) - 75
- Total - 1047
St George's Hospital:
- 2013 - 70
- 2014 - 122
- 2015 - 126
- 2016 - 161
- 2017 - 182
- 2018 - 159
- Total - 820