Isabelle Kirk, Data Reporter
More than a quarter of NHS staff in the area experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from patients last year.
The Government has announced new measures to better protect health service staff in England, calling for a ‘zero tolerance’ approach.
Responses to the latest NHS staff survey show that 29% of workers at the Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust said they had experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public in 2017.
A further 25% said they had been verbally abused or harassed by a fellow member of staff.
Around 1,560 employees responded to the survey and one in eight respondents said that they had experienced physical violence.
Healthcare workers’ union Unison said anyone threatening or abusing NHS staff should be prosecuted.
Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust spokesman, Glyn Oakley, said: “Although our statistics are in line with the national average for acute trusts, we are never complacent when it comes to violence and aggression towards our staff.
“It is our commitment to provide the best possible protection for our patients and staff at all times.
“Staff are encouraged to report any incidents formally through our Datix system, we have a freedom-to-speak-up guardian and our bullying and harassment contacts offer a confidential service.
“We take all incidents extremely seriously and will not hesitate to prosecute the perpetrator where appropriate when violence is used against our staff.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has introduced the first NHS violence reduction strategy.
This includes a series of measures designed to safeguard NHS workers against deliberate attacks and abuse.