Finlay Carson MSP

Galloway and West Dumfries

Carson calls for zero tolerance approach to assaults on NHS staff

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson has called for a zero tolerance approach to assaults on NHS staff in the region.

The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP’s call comes after new figures obtained by the party shows a shocking number of physical and verbal assaults on healthcare staff in recent years.

Across Scotland, there were 12,759 physical assaults recorded on NHS staff but just 190 people were convicted, meaning there was just a 1.5% chance of conviction.

Mr Carson says it is disappointing that the conviction rate figures do not appear to mirror the number of attacks on hardworking NHS staff at their place of work.

In Dumfries and Galloway, there have been over 1,400 assaults by patients since 2010/11 and a further 388 verbal abuses of staff have also been recorded.

In 2018/19 there were 109 physical assaults and 42 examples of verbal abuse, while in the financial year for 2019/20, there have been 55 physical assaults and 29 incidents of verbal abuse.

Commenting, Finlay Carson MSP said: “Any attack, whether physical or verbal on our NHS staff is totally unacceptable and must be treated as such.

“These figures are very concerning, showing that hundreds of attacks have taken place in recent years in the workplace.

“What is even more concerning is that very few of these people are ever convicted for their actions.

“While it is not realistic to expect every one of these incidents to end up in conviction, we have to take a zero tolerance approach and ensure our healthcare staff feel totally protected at work.

“We won’t make progress on tackling this problem unless we start showing tough action on those responsible.

“Right now under a SNP Government, those who attack our NHS staff have an almost 100 per cent chance of getting away with it which is completely wrong.”