NHS: Casualty staff at risk of violence

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Hospital casualty staff face the threat of violence on a daily basis. A five-hour snapshot of seven of the UK's leading accident and emergency departments carried out for the Press Association, found that verbal and physical abuse of medical staff was widespread. The findings have been given to Frank Dobson, the Secretary of State for Health.

The findings come as Britain's biggest union, Unison, prepares to issue safety guidelines to health workers in a bid to curb the rising tide of workplace violence. New figures, due to be released by the union later this week, show nursing staff and social care workers are most likely to experience violence at work.

Of the 579 new criminal injury compensation claims dealt with by the union over the last six months, 165 were made by nurses following attacks at work and 157 from social care workers.

Mr Dobson has promised to take a tough line on patients who abuse A&E staff.