KEN SKATES has branded attacks on NHS staff in North Wales ‘completely unacceptable’ after the AM obtained figures highlighting over eleven hundred attacks on healthcare staff in the region in 2011.
In a special investigation conducted by the AM, Mr Skates said there had been 310 attacks reported by the end of May 2012 against staff in the Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board region, three of which involved the use of a weapon.
The AM reiterated his support for a poster campaign launched recently by the NHS and the Welsh Government and said individuals caught acting violently towards nurses, doctors, health care workers and other staff should be prosecuted.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“In 2011 the numbers of attacks on NHS staff in North Wales rose significantly with 1164 assaults against individuals on duty in the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board region. This is completely unacceptable behaviour and must not be tolerated in any form.
“Our NHS staff do a vital job every single day in our communities and it’s clear from the figures that they often do this at personal risk to themselves. There have been over 300 assaults reported across North Wales already this year, three of these incidents involved the use of a weapon.
“We ask a lot from workers in the health service but they must be shown respect and responsibility in return. The Minister has indicated rightly that the Welsh Government and the NHS will take a tough line with anyone who abuses or attacks staff and I think we should all support a zero tolerance approach.
“We need to make an example of people who act in this way and people prosecuted if it’s deemed necessary. We are only talking about a minority of the hundreds of thousands of people who use our health service in North Wales each week, but even this must not be tolerated.”
The figures obtained by Mr Skates highlighted 811 assaults on NHS staff on duty in North Wales in 2008, 810 in 2009, 696 in 2010, 1164 in 2011 and 310 already reported in 2012.
A poster campaign was launched recently to highlight the NHS’s zero tolerance policy for attacks on its workers, such as pharmacists, GPs and their staff.