HC Deb 28 February 2000 vol 345 c73W
Dan Norris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what records he keeps centrally of assaults upon(a) hospital staff and (b) social workers. [110234]

Mr. Denham

The National Health Service Executive conducted a survey of violence in NHS trusts in 1998–99. The survey found that, on average, seven violent incidents were recorded each month per 1,000 staff. This is equivalent to approximately 65,000 violent incidents against NHS Trust staff each year. Details of the survey can be found in Health Service Circular 1999/229: "Managing Violence, Accidents and Sickness Absence in the NHS", copies of which are in the Library.

A cross-Government campaign, "NHS zero tolerance zone", was launched last October to tackle violence against staff working in the NHS. The campaign is underpinned by National Improving Targets for reducing incidents of violence against NHS staff by 20 per cent. by 2001 and 30 per cent. by 2003.

Information about the number of incidents of violence against social workers is not collected centrally. However, we are determined to reduce substantially the incidence of violence towards everyone working in social care. We have set up a taskforce to produce a national action plan by November 2000 with recommendations and timescales for action to reduce violence against social care staff and to promote the safety and welfare of social care workers.

In particular, the taskforce will advise the Department on the setting of targets that social care employees will be set for the reduction of violence against social care staff, and the arrangements for monitoring of progress. They will also advise social care employers on the development, implementation and monitoring of strategies to reduce violence, to train the workforce in handling confrontational situations, and to support staff who have been the victims of violent incidents.