Three patients were responsible for a 150 per cent increase in violent attacks on staff at a Teesside hospital trust. Staff at South Cleveland Hospital, Middlesbrough General, and North Riding Infirmary have suffered 79 physical assaults since April last year, compared to 31 attacks in the previous year. One patient alone carried out 10 attacks, though managers at South Tees Acute Hospitals trust insist that nurses have so far never refused to treat any patient who has behaved violently. The trust has developed a series of initiatives, including working closely with Cleveland police to train frontline staff in 'breakaway'de-escalation techniques. The trust's health and safety manager, Jonathan Maloney, said: 'We recognised some violence is caused by medical conditions and nursing staff appreciate this, but the trust takes any incident of violence towards staff extremely seriously. '