MORE than 250 staff across north Hampshire’s hospitals were assaulted in the line-of-duty last year, new statistics have revealed.

The figures, released by NHS Protect, show that 266 assaults were reported by staff working for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust between 2015/16.

The trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, has more than 7,200 employees, meaning one in every 27 staff members were assaulted last year.

However of those 266 recorded assaults, all were deemed as involving ‘medical factors’.

This means that the patient did not know what they were doing or were unaware that what they were doing was wrong, due to mental illness or disability.

The most recent figure represents a 34 per cent increase compared to 2014/15, when 175 assaults were recorded.

Of those assaults, two were described as ‘non-medical’ incidents.

But not a single ‘non-medical’ assault was made between 2015-16.

One person to comment on the stats was outgoing HHFT chief executive Mary Edwards.

The health boss, who leaves the trust this month, said: “We offer all staff the opportunity to take part in conflict resolution training in order to prevent situations reaching the stage where an assault takes place.

“We also have a highly-trained security team available around the clock.

“We understand that coming into hospital, as a patient or visitor, can be highly stressful.

“However, we do not tolerate any form of violence towards our staff and would not hesitate to contact the police if necessary.”

While all assaults in Hampshire’s hospitals were said to involve ‘medical factors’, the opposite can be said for paramedics in the region.

129 staff members from South Central Ambulance Trust were assaulted in 2015/16, of which 94 did not involve medical factors.

Of those assaults in 2015-16, 19 led to criminal sanctions, while 65 led to civil actions.

A spokesperson for SCAS said: “As a responsible employer, SCAS takes all steps, so far as is reasonably practicable, to protect its staff from violence and aggression.

“In addition to carrying out a risk assessment on preventing violence and aggression to staff the Trust provides conflict resolution training to frontline operational staff.

“As part of our risk management arrangements, the Trust has an electronic incident reporting system and encourages staff to report all incidents including any violence or aggression incidents.

“When approaching a scene staff carry out a dynamic risk assessment and can stand down or request further support from other Trust staff and the Police.”

Nationally NHS Protect say there were 70,000 assaults reported against NHS staff between 2015-16.

This is an increase of around 2,000 when compared to the previous year’s figures.

Chris Cox, from the Royal College of Nursing, said: “It is unacceptable that going to work brings the threat of violence and danger, but this recorded increase may be a symptom of worrying levels of patient and family frustration and aggression. With longer waits and the pressures of understaffed units, the atmosphere can become a tinderbox."