Healthcare staff are four times more likely to suffer violent assault than workers in general, a study has found.

An Industrial Relations Services survey of 105 trusts found that one in 10 staff was the victim of workplace violence in the year to April, four times the rate found in other occupations.

Ten per cent of incidents resulted in major injury, with this figure rising to 20 per cent in community and mental health trusts.

The survey says there is a 'growing trend' for trusts to adopt explicit policies on violence. Nine out of 10 trusts had such policies and 90 per cent had improved security systems.

But the study says that there are 'wide variations' in policy provision and that one in 10 fails to comply with guidance from the Health and Safety Commission.

IRS Health Service Report, autumn issue. 18-20 Highbury Place, London N5 IQP. 40.