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NHS Staff Being Physically and Verbally Assaulted

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Over the past 12 months 5,182 healthcare staff in Greater Glasgow and Clyde suffered verbal or physical assault while at work despite a concerted and ongoing campaign to combat aggression. 

These new figures are evidence that incidents of violence and aggression are a serious factor for healthcare workers. The Health Board hopes that by highlighting the extent of the incidents, it can help reduce and deter such incidents. 

Anne MacPherson, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, said:  “Despite us introducing a range of measures to protect our staff we are unfortunately still seeing incidents of both physical and verbal abuse. 

“In some instances staff have required support from Police Scotland because of the danger to their own and patients’ wellbeing, and that is unacceptable. 

“As a Board we are committed to reducing and deterring such incidents as well as ensuring staff are trained to deal with situations when they do arise.  We must do all we can to protect our staff whilst delivering our services 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Our staff should be able to fulfil their duties without fear of assault or abuse.” 

Kenneth Fleming, Head of Health and Safety, added:  “NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has a proactive Violence and Aggression Policy and also a Standards of Behaviour document, which states that our staff are entitled to work free of threats, assaults and intimidation. 

“We take any acts of physical or verbal abuse very seriously.  Where staff are assaulted or abused while at work, whether in our hospitals or in the community, we fully support them and encourage them to pursue their abusers through the criminal justice system.” 


Notes to editors: 

Here is a break-down of the 31st May 2018 to 31st May 2019 figures. 


Types of Assault

No. of reports

Patient Physical Assault on Staff


Physical Assault by Other


Sexual Harassment




Threat of Physical Violence


Verbal Abuse




For further media information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]

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Last Updated: 25 July 2019