South Scotland

NHS Dumfries and Galloway staff attacks show 35% rise

Dumfries Infirmary
Image caption Attacks on health workers have risen by more than a third in two years

The number of assaults on NHS staff in Dumfries and Galloway has increased by 35% over the past two years.

A Freedom of Information request by Dumfries MSP Elaine Murray showed there were 313 recorded incidents in 2009 compared with 232 in 2007.

She said "tough punishments" needed to be imposed to make it clear such attacks would not be tolerated.

An NHS spokesman said the figures were a concern and every effort was being made to tackle the situation.

Ms Murray said: "I am shocked and disappointed that more NHS staff are suffering attacks and violence.

"A 35% increase in two years is a dramatic rise and we all need to work together to get that number down.

"Violence and aggression against NHS staff is totally unacceptable - we need to impose tough punishments on attackers to make it absolutely clear it will not be tolerated."

NHS spokesman John Glover said the health board took the issue very seriously.

"Frankly any act of violence, physical or abusive, towards our staff is completely unacceptable," he said.

"NHS Dumfries and Galloway is fully committed to having a zero tolerance approach to violence and abusive behaviour of any kind."

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