- Seventy per cent of providers inspected were breaking one or more health and safety laws
- Inspections focused on violence and aggression towards staff, and manual handling
- HSE’s inspections linked to high level of attacks in sector, including three deaths
Around two-thirds of NHS providers were found to be breaking laws aimed at protecting staff from violence and aggression, when inspected by the Health and Safety Executive, information released to HSJ reveals.
The HSE has inspected 37 NHS organisations since April 2018, looking at how they manage risks to staff from violence and aggression, and found 25 of them (67 per cent) were in breach of the law.
HSE inspectors also found 21 of 38 NHS providers (55 per cent) were breaking health and safety law concerning manual handling and musculoskeletal disorders.
The regulator has released the findings to HSJ of its NHS inspection programme — which is carried out because there are more assaults in the sector than in others — although it has declined to say which providers were found to be breaking the law in the two categories.
It comes amid concern about rising numbers of assaults on NHS and care staff. The HSE has identified that three staff members have been killed by patients or service users in the last five years.
The HSE’s findings
In 2018-19, the HSE inspected 19 NHS organisations for their management systems for both violence aggression and manual handling, while at one trust inspectors concentrated only on manual handling.
The HSE visited a further 18 NHS providers in the first half of 2019-20, and they were all inspected for both their violence and aggression and manual handling management systems.
Across the total 38 NHS providers, the HSE found 27 trusts were in breach of one or both sets of duties under health and safety law covering violence and aggression and/or manual handling, including:
- 25 trusts which were breaking the law for their management of risks from violence and aggression; and
- 21 trusts which were in breach of the law regarding their risk management for manual handling.
Improvement notices were served to seven trusts requiring improvements on how they handle risks from violence and aggression, and to eight trusts requiring action on their manual handling procedures.
HSJ has asked the HSE to identify the NHS organisations which were found to be in breach of the laws, but it has declined. It has, however, provided a list of those which were inspected in each of the two financial years (see box below).
HSJ reported last month that Leeds Community Healthcare Trust had disclosed in board papers that HSE has determined it had broken the law. It has said the HSE has not indicated a follow-up inspection was required, and was working on a “full action plan” to address the findings.
The HSE said the trust’s policies for violence and aggression, lone workers and safe moving and handling “do not identify high risk locations, tasks or roles”, and that procedures for responding to panic alarms were “inconsistent”.
Providers inspected in 2018-19
NHS Dumfries & Galloway
Powys Teaching Health Board
Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board
Cumbria Partnership FT
Mersey Care Foundation Trust
Sheffield Health and Social Care Foundation Trust
Leeds and York Partnership FT
Gateshead Health FT
Camden and Islington FT
St George’s University Hospitals FT
Cambridge and Peterborough FT
Bedfordshire Hospital Trust
Kent and Medway and Social Care Partnership Trust
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust
Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust
Kettering General Hospital Foundation Trust
Lincolnshire Community Health Services Trust
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust
Providers inspected in 2019-20
Lancashire Care FT
Countess of Chester Hospital FT
Bradford District Care FT
Sunderland Royal Hospital/South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust
Leeds Community Healthcare Trust
Central and North West London FT
North Middlesex University Hospital Trust
Hertfordshire Partnership University FT
North West Anglia FT
East and North Hertfordshire Trust
East Sussex Healthcare Trust
Leicestershire Partnership Trust
United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust
Birmingham Community Healthcare FT
Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust
Hywel Dda University Health Board
Cornwall Partnership FT
Information supplied to HSJ
- AVON AND WILTSHIRE MH PARTNERSHIP NHS TRUST
- BEDFORD HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- BRADFORD DISTRICT CARE NHS TRUST
- BRIGHTON AND SUSSEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- CAMBRIDGESHIRE AND PETERBOROUGH FOUNDATION TRUST
- CAMDEN AND ISLINGTON NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- CENTRAL AND NORTH WEST LONDON MH NHS TRUST
- CORNWALL PARTNERSHIP NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- COUNTESS OF CHESTER HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- COVENTRY AND WARWICKSHIRE PARTNERSHIP NHS TRUST
- EAST AND NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE NHS TRUST
- EAST SUSSEX HEALTHCARE NHS TRUST
- GATESHEAD HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust
- KENT AND MEDWAY NHS AND SOCIAL CARE PARTNERSHIP NHS TRUST
- KETTERING GENERAL HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- LEICESTERSHIRE PARTNERSHIP NHS TRUST
- Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- NORTH CUMBRIA ACUTE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- NORTH MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL NHS TRUST
- North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust
- ROYAL CORNWALL HOSPITALS NHS TRUST
- SALISBURY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST
- Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
- South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Staff wellbeing
- UNITED LINCOLNSHIRE HOSPITALS NHS TRUST