The number of physical attacks against hospital staff is rising in the U.K. New figures from Britain's National Health Service (NHS) show a six per cent rise in violent assaults on care workers in the past year. There were 63,199 reported assaults in 2012-13 across England, up from 59,744 from the previous year. That means more than 173 nurses, orderlies or other staff are assaulted every day. Unions say these figures do not tell the whole story. Union spokeswoman Christina McAnea said: "Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg as violence on NHS premises remains an under-reported problem. The [government] cuts and resultant pressure on services are causing growing patient frustration."
Britain's Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter condemned the attacks on hospital staff. He said: "Any physical or verbal abuse against NHS staff is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated." He added: "It is outrageous that there have been so many physical assaults against NHS staff." He said there were measures to keep undesirable people out of hospitals. "Legal powers are available to remove people not requiring treatment from hospital premises in cases of nuisance behaviour, and to prosecute those who refuse to leave." Richard Hampton of the support group NHS Protect said: "NHS staff should expect to be able to provide care in a safe environment, free from violence and physical assault."