Date: 28 Oct 2004
Health Service Workers are not Society's punch bags - says UNISON
"Health service workers are not Society's punchbag" says
Scotland's largest health care union, UNISON after figures released
today show that a shocking 67.8 % of all occupational injuries in
the primary health care sector are due to violence and aggression.
UNISON Scotland is horrified at the statistics issued by ISD Scotland
and are now calling on the Scottish Executive to turning their plans
for a safer working environment within the health sector into concrete
action as a matter of urgency.
"The figures issued today show an increase in physical abuse
against health service workers and in particular nurses and midwives,"
said Jim Devine, UNISON Scotland's organiser on Health.
"It is not part of the health service worker's job to be
physically and verbally abused at work.
"Last year a nurse in Perth nearly died as a result of a
physical assault by a hospital visitor. This attack has so traumatised
the nurse that she is still off work nearly one year later."
According to these latest statistics there are approximately 135
occupational injuries per 1000 member of staff each year and out
of all the injuries recorded in 2003/04, 67.9% are due to violence
and aggression. In addition another 11.1 per cent are victims of
needlestick (or other sharp objects) injuries which equates to approximately
15 per 1000 members of staff.
In the acute health sector 54.4 % of all occupational injuries
are due to violence and aggression with nursing and midwives (75.3
%) being the main targets.
"We don't want to wait until an NHS workers dies before concrete
action is taken," said Jim Devine.
"These figures are horrific and it is time for the Executive
to put their plans into action and to clamp down on the present
culture which appears to prevail in hospitals throughout the country
where health workers are seen as figures of abuse by members of
[Notes to the Editor
- Last year UNISON launched a ‘Free From Care' campaign with a
six point action plan which is available on our website.
- Also available on the website is UNISON Scotland's response
to the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Bill. In this document UNISON
Scotland asks the Justice 1 Committee to extend the list of workers
defined as emergency workers and strengthen the definition of
- Scottish Executive published a booklet ‘Protecting Public Service
Workers: When the Customer Isn't Right' in September 2004 and
this outlines the Executives plans for addressing the problem
of attacks on public sector workers.
UNISON Scotland's website address is www.unison-scotland.org.uk
For Further Information Please Contact: Jim Devine on 07876
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558
Or Ahrlene Ferguson on 0141 342 2819 or 07703 165839