By Tatiana Aversa Sanchez
The total number of racist attacks being reported in the NHS is on the rise, according to freedom of information data.
And the main hospital trust for Brighton and Hove is one of the top ten trusts nationwide with 15 incidents recorded in 2012-13.
The figures for the whole country, reported on BBC Radio 5 Live today (Monday 16 December), have risen 65 per cent in five years.
They include verbal and physical attacks on staff, including those tending patients, with the latest figures at their highest level.
The total number of incidents rose from 420 in 2008-09 to 694 in 2012-13. The NHS described the abuse that takes place as “shocking’’.
The 15 attacks on staff working for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust compare with 76 at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and 32 at Leeds Teaching Hospitals.
Belfast Health and Social Care Trust was third on the BBC’s list with 27 incidents.
The BBC quoted the chief executive of NHS Employers, Dean Royles, saying: “With rising levels of violence against staff in the NHS, it’s shocking that staff can also be subject to racial abuse.
“We should be proud of the contribution that staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds make to the NHS.
“We know from research that diversity is important for patient care and that a diverse workforce is a more productive workforce.
“Therefore, it is right that any signs of inequality or discrimination – factors which can significantly affect motivation – are taken seriously.”
The rise in the number of attacks being reported may be partly down to improved reporting systems rather than more incidents taking place.
Earlier this year Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said that staff were physically attacked 172 times in 2011-12 or at a rate of 22 per 1,000 staff.
This was more than many comparable hospitals and trusts including East Sussex Healthcare, Western Sussex Hospitals, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare, the Royal Surrey County Hospital, Barts Health and Guy’s and St Thomas’.
The Brighton and Sussex trust, which runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Kemp Town, said: “Five of the assaults resulted in criminal sanctions being applied and the trust continues to work with Sussex Police to deal with perpetrators appropriately.
“While all assaults are distressing to staff, many of the assaults described above are relatively low level, eg, pinching or scratching.
“Staff report these types of incidents are often linked to dementia or confusion.”