HOSPITAL staff are being attacked a rate of more than once a week by the very people they are trying to treat.
In the last 12 months alone, 57 staff were assaulted at the Conquest. And in one case a knife had to be confiscated from one patient.
The Conquest’s sister hospital, Eastbourne DGH, saw 78 workers attacked over the same period.
Margaret Williams, chairman of Hands off the Conquest, branded the news ‘disgraceful’.
She said: “Staff are doing their job to the best of their ability and nobody should be allowed or even think about verbally or physically attacking staff.”
A spokesman for East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs the Conquest and DGH, said bosses took the issue of staff safety very seriously.
He said: “Violence against our staff is completely unacceptable. No staff member should go to work thinking that violence or abuse is part of their everyday life.
“The number of incidents illustrates the added pressure faced by our staff in delivering care to patients.
“We take security very seriously and operate a zero tolerance policy encouraging staff to report all incidents of violence or abuse both physical and verbal.”
The trust added that far from indicating that the Conquest had become a dangerous place to work, it was actually proof that the trust had good procedures in place to deal with assaults.
The spokesman said: “We do not believe this data indicates that the trust’s hospitals are violent places but rather that we have effective reporting systems and staff feel confident about using them.”