Improve occupational health services for NHS staff

Quality occupational health services should be available to all staff across the NHS, according to Unison.

Juliet Satterthwaite
Juliet Satterthwaite

In response to this week's Boorman report it is highlighting the case of a psychiatric nurse who was attacked twice in as many years.

During one of the assaults 49-year-old Juliet Satterthwaite was forced to endure a prolonged attack by a patient because of staff shortages and faulty personal alarms.

Around 56,000 NHS staff were physically attacked in the NHS last year, adding to staff health and sickness levels.

The nurse needed intensive counselling and was off work for five months following the attack by a patient with a violent history.

Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: ‘Sadly, Juliet's case is all too common in the NHS, with staff suffering violence and abuse on a daily basis. Trusts should not wait for the final Boorman report before taking action to ensure workers have access to quality occupational health care across the NHS.

‘In addition, trusts must look carefully at the underlying causes of sickness absence, as many accidents and violent incidents are preventable. To be attacked twice in as many years is frightening enough, but it is a disgrace that she was subjected to a prolonged assault because of the lack of staff and faulty personal alarms.'

  • Is the NHS likely to make quality occupational health services available to all staff?

Editor's blog: The NHS needs to take care of its staff

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