• One in five workers at mental health trusts has experienced violence from the public while at work in the past year
  • Almost half of mental health trusts report a significant increase in the proportion of staff reporting errors

Mental health trusts are continuing to experience higher than average incidences of violence against staff, the NHS staff survey has shown.

The annual survey of staff working in NHS organisations found one in five workers in mental health trusts have experienced violence from the public while at work in the past year.

Mental health trusts reported much more violence against staff by the public than all other types of trusts. Across the NHS, the average proportion of staff reporting violence was 14.5 per cent but almost two-thirds of mental health trusts, 62 per cent, reported a proportion higher than this.

Isle of Wight Trust was the mental health trust which reported the highest level of violence against staff from patients, relatives or the public. A third of the trust’s staff reported experiencing attacks in the most recent staff survey, up from 26 per cent reported in last year’s survey.

Isle of Wight was also the trust with the highest percentage of staff reporting having witnessed potentially harmful errors at 40 per cent. This was followed by Avon and Wiltshire Health Partnership Trust, which reported 35 per cent of staff witnessing potentially harmful errors.

Dorset Healthcare University Foundation Trust was the trust with the lowest percentage of staff reporting errors at 19 per cent.

Overall, almost half of mental health trusts reported a significant increase in staff reporting errors compared with last year.

Central and North West London FT, the mental health trust with the highest turnover, reported a significant increase in staff reporting errors – a rise from 25 per cent to 31 per cent. However, it also reported a significant increase in staff reporting bullying and harassment from other colleagues and was the second highest mental health trust for this measure, behind Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT.

Meanwhile, Tavistock and Portman FT was the mental health trust most recommended by staff for care, with a score of 4.04. This figure is a weighted score out of five, based on whether staff say they would recommend their organisation as a place to work or receive treatment.

Tavistock and Portman FT was followed by Northamptonshire Healthcare FT and then Solent Trust.

However, Tavistock and Portman’s score is still some way behind the acute and combined acute/community trusts. St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals, which came top nationally, scored 4.21.