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Attacks on NHS staff 'unacceptable'

Violence against NHS staff is unacceptable, BMA Cymru Wales has said, after it was revealed there were 18,000 physical attacks on workers during the last five years.

According to information supplied to BBC Wales through the Freedom of Information Act, hospital staff in Wales were physically attacked more than 18,000 times while at work.

BMA Welsh council chair Phil Banfield said: 'Violence against NHS staff is unacceptable and ought to be minimised at every opportunity. It is essential to put [these] figures in context.

'The misuse of alcohol has a significant impact on violence within emergency departments and it is clear that more needs to be done, outside of medical settings, to reduce rates of alcohol abuse.

'Additionally, assaults can occur when treating frail, older dementia patients or in those with severe mental health conditions and these incidents may be attributed to these patients being inappropriately admitted to acute settings because of bed shortages and gaps in social care provision, aggravated by staff shortages and resource shortfall.

'It is important to take assaults on NHS staff seriously. To take steps to reduce them, we must move away from only blaming patients and look again at how the health and social care system may contribute to the reasons behind why assaults occur.'

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