Hospital staff assaults triple in 5 years

The number of Ballina hospital staff being physically assaulted by patients has tripled in the past five years.

Figures released under Government Information Public Access show 12 staff were physically assaulted by patients during the 2014/15 financial year.

Of those 12 assaults recorded on the hospital's Incident Management System, one resulted in medical expenses, lost time or restricted duties while a further nine required first aid treatment.

Two were classed as resulting in no injury.

In comparison, 2010/11 figures show only one assault resulted in the need for first aid while the remaining three had no injury.

NSW Nurses and Midwives Association general secretary Brett Holmes said the Ballina figures were alarming.

"It's alarming to learn that incidence of assault towards staff have more than doubled at Ballina Hospital over the past five years," he said.

"Dedicate nurses and midwives go to work to care for and provide professional medical attention to members of the public, not to become victims of assault."

Mr Holmes said the union encouraged its members to report all incidence of violence in the workplace through the union's app.

HSU NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes said patient assaults on hospital staff were an all-too common occurrence.

"This is a very widespread problem and the HSC has been very vocal about it for a long time," he said.

Mr Hayes said the union had been running a statewide campaign with the aim of putting a spotlight on hospital safety.

He said the union was pushing for the State Government to change legislation that would clarify the role of security officers and allows them to protect themselves, staff and the public.

Recent figures from the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research show a 38.1% increase in the possession and use of amphetamines in just two years.

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