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Only French nurses suffer more than Brits.

ALMOST a third of UK nurses suffer frequent violence at work, according to research published today.

Only France has higher rates of violence, the study found, from a list of 10 European countries including Belgium, Italy and Poland.

The research, published in the journal Occupational Medicine, found that 29% of UK nurses had suffered frequent violent incidents at the hands of patients or their relatives. In France, the figure was 39% and 28% in Germany.

The researchers, from France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, found that violence had wide-reaching effects including nurses leaving the profession, problems with recruitment, increased amounts of sick leave and "burn-out".

The study was based on a survey of 39,894 nurses.

The authors said, "Staff should be protected by a sound trust policy and incidents should be carefully monitored. Workplace violence is one of the most complex and dangerous occupational hazards facing nurses.

"As its effects are varied, including increased sick leave, security costs, litigation, workers' compensation, and recruitment and retention issues, it is important to address both its psychological and organisational costs."

Gail Adams, Unison head of nursing, said, "These statistics should make people in the UK ashamed.

"It is totally unacceptable for nurses to face rising levels of violence, when all they are trying to do is help and care for their patients. It's clear that despite efforts to cut violence in the NHS, more needs to be done to protect staff. Prevention is the key, coupled with better training and tough penalties for anyone found guilty of assault."
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 3, 2008
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