NHS staff face “blows and abuse” on the job as Christmas and New Year festivities get out of hand, according to public sector union Unison.
The union is calling for tough new laws to protect staff and punish the offenders.
“Most people can look forward to Christmas and the New Year, but for NHS staff it is anything but peace on earth,” said general secretary Dave Prentis. “Binge drinking, drugs, work and family tensions all take their toll – and it’s hospital staff and paramedics who face the blows and the abuse.
Prentis said there were cases of NHS staff being stabbed and threatened with knives and guns. “All for doing their job, caring for the sick and injured,” he said.
Unison is calling for a commitment at every level to deal with the problem of attacks on NHS workers.
“The public knows that if they attack a police officer they are going to have the book thrown at them,” said Prentis. “Unison would like to see the same tough treatment meted out to anyone found guilty of assaulting an NHS worker.
“At the same time, we need managers to act before staff get hurt, rather than dealing with it after.”
By Mike Berry