Responding to the Secretary of State’s announcement of a new strategy for dealing with violence against NHS staff, Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said:

“This is a welcome intervention from the government. All NHS workers should feel able to perform their vital jobs without the fear of violence which we know is more prevalent in mental health settings. More than a fifth of staff in mental health trusts have experienced violence at work from a patient, service user, relative or member of the public in the last 12 months.

“Our members are already doing some great work to reduce violence against staff, such as at East London NHS Foundation Trust which adopted a Quality Improvement approach which resulted in reduced violence by over 40% in its adult mental health inpatient wards in Tower Hamlets and by 60% at its acute inpatients wards. Scaling up this approach across the Trust, it has seen a 42% reduction in incidents of physical violence since 2013. Today’s announcement has the potential to turbocharge efforts such as these across the country.

“The Secretary of State is right to recognise the different causes of violence against staff working in our NHS, and that they need different solutions, particularly where there are clinical conditions affecting patient behaviour. Part of the solution must also be ensuring adequate staffing levels to reduce the risk to our people.”