Statistics point to high injury risk for NHS staff

NHS Borders is at number two in a league table of the number of their staff who have suffered injuries at work over the past three years.

Only NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, with 9,583 reported incidents, beats the NHS Borders figure of 7,114 and altogether NHS staff in Scotland have suffered over 35,000 injuries at work over the past three years.

Figures from the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed injuries included bites, needle wounds and falls, and also covered stress: the party’s health spokesperson Jim Hume saying that it was “worrying” that violence against staff remained high.

However, the figures produced by NHS Borders are from their ‘adverse event database’ which details every incident and they stress that of the 7114 incidents recorded there was no physical injury in 84% of cases.

“NHS Borders is committed to the delivery of safe, effective and person centred care, and to ensuring that there will be no avoidable injury or harm to people, or adverse impact on the organisation, resulting from the delivery of healthcare or any event/incident,” said a spokesperson for NHS Borders.

“As part of the open and honest culture promoted within NHS Borders, employees are expected to record all events on the datix system.

“The data provided by NHS Borders in response to a freedom of information request detailed the total number of incidents recorded by employees on our adverse event database over a three year period.

“In 5954 (84%) of the 7114 incidents reported there was actually ‘no physical injury’ recorded against the incident.

“Safe, effective, person centred care remains a continuing focus for the organisation.”

MSP Mr Hume said: “Whilst our health boards operate vigorous accident reporting and prevention systems we know that accidents can occur because of potentially unsafe behaviour or conditions.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The recent nationwide NHS staff survey shows that staff working in Scotland’s health service feel increasingly positive about the overall experience of working for NHS Scotland.

“Unfortunately evidence shows that incidents of violent and aggressive abuse are a serious factor for healthcare workers and this is clearly unacceptable.

“We actively encourage NHS Scotland organisations to commit to supporting criminal proceedings against anyone who assaults a staff member.”