DOCTORS, nurses and medical staff are facing an alarming rise in physical and verbal abuse from the public at Solihull and Heartlands hospitals.
Figures published last week in a national report called Violence Against NHS Staff, showed a 63 per cent increase in the number of attacks on staff working for the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Solihull, Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals, recorded for this year.
Statistics reveal that in 2006-2007 there were 119 recorded incidents in Accident and Emergency units at Heartlands and Good Hope hospitals and in the Minor Injuries Unit at Solihull Hospital and across all wards and departments, but this leapt to 195 for the year running from 2007 to 2008.
Health chiefs at the trust launched an initiative last year encouraging hospital staff to come forward and report incidents involving physical and verbal abuse.
West Midlands Ambulance Service also witnessed a rise in assaults on their personnel with 99 recorded incidents in 2006 to 2007 compared to 147 for 2007 to 2008, which represents an increase of almost 50 per cent.
Lisa Dunn, director of corporate affairs, Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, said: "Heart of England has a reputation for its zero tolerance approach to violence and aggression against its staff. To protect staff and patients from such incidents, a prolonged campaign has been underway for over a year to encourage staff to report these incidents so they can be followed through to prosecution where appropriate."
"This has meant a significant increase in reported incidents and we see the increase as a sign that staff know the trust will take action against offenders. We are proud that our incidences of violence are below the national average, due to the vigilance of the local police and an excellent security team at the trust."
"We hope staff continue to report all incidents as protecting them, patients and the public is a priority."