Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust is amongst worse in UK for staff assaults

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A hospital trust in Lancashire is amongst the worst in the UK for assaults on staff members.

NHS Trusts across Lancashire have paid out a combined total more than £600,000 in staff assault claims in the last five years. 

An investigation by LegalExpert.co.uk found that a total of 103 claims and incidents of NHS staff assaults were logged across four trusts in the district with 39 claims being settled with damages since 2019.

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Physical assaults on NHS staff are defined as: “The intentional application of force to the person of another without lawful justification, resulting in physical injury or personal discomfort.”

Data obtained via Freedom of Information requests to NHS Resolution (the legal body of the NHS) reveals that the biggest damages payouts in the county came from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, which is actually the third worst trust in the UK for staff assaults.

Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust provides health and wellbeing services for the whole of Lancashire and South Cumbria with a population of around 1.8 million people. The Trust specialises in secure, perinatal, inpatient and community mental health and learning disability services, including services for children and young people.

Lancashire NHS Trusts have paid out more than £600,000 in staff assault claims in the last five years. Lancashire NHS Trusts have paid out more than £600,000 in staff assault claims in the last five years. 
Lancashire NHS Trusts have paid out more than £600,000 in staff assault claims in the last five years. 

How many incidents of staff asault were there across Lancashire hospital trusts?

In total, Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust paid out a staggering £500,853 for a total of 33 staff assault claims over five years.

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The trust, which is based in Preston, had thw third highest number of assualt claims, and the ninth highest total damages payouts for such claims, out of 236 NHS trusts in England.

Elsewhere in Lancashire, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust paid out a total of £101,590 for six staff assault claims, recording 10 claims and incidents since 2019. 

Two other Trusts in the county recorded 14 claims and incidents of staff assault but none that resulted in damages being paid out. These were: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

What has Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said?

Ursula Martin, Chief Strategy and Improvement Officer at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust (LSCft), said: “We take the safety of our colleagues, patients and visitors extremely seriously and where safety incidents including assaults are reported, we undertake robust investigations and seek to learn from what has happened so we can ensure a safe environment for all on our wards, buildings and in our care.”

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What was the situation at other hospital trusts?

According to the Freedom of Information results, these are the 10 hospital trusts in the UK with the highjest damages pay outs for staff assaults between 2019 and 2023:

NHS TrustNo. of claims closed/settledDamages paid
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust NHS10£1,180,394
Mersey Care NHS FT 62£1,158,679
Midlands Partnership NHS FT 12£778,304
Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS FT26£695,753
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS FT11£582,424
Black Country Healthcare NHS FT 11£556,986
West London NHS FT17£539,923
South London & Maudsley NHS FT20£522,659
Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT33£500,853
Essex Partnership University NHS FT15£486,117

What have the researchers said about their findings?

Legal Expert solicitor, Patrick Mallon, said: "These figures are extremely concerning. Nobody should have to feel threatened at work - especially hard-working, vital NHS staff. 

“Something must be done to tackle abuse towards NHS staff who, for the majority, are just trying to do their jobs

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