One in five LGBTQ+ NHS staff and a third of ambulance staff say they have been assaulted at work, new figures show.
More than 20 per cent of healthcare staff identifying as LGBTQ+ on the 2018 NHS staff survey reported at least one attack from either patients, service users, relatives or members of the public over the course of a year.
The figure is more than 5 per cent higher than for NHS staff overall, analysis of the survey found.
The survey also showed that a third of ambulance staff had been assaulted over the year.
Unite described the attacks on LGBTQ+ and ambulance staff as a part of a “troubling trend” and said it will be monitoring the government’s NHS violence reduction strategy to ensure health workers are kept safe.
The strategy, which is the first of its kind, was announced by health secretary Matt Hancock in October and details plans for the NHS to work with police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure offenders are quickly prosecuted and victims provided with proper support.
NHS trusts will have to demonstrate to the Care Quality Commission that they are taking action to prevent violence against staff as part of the strategy, with trusts that need help in reducing employee assaults being offered support.
Training on how to deal with potential violence will also be provided to staff under the strategy, including with scenarios involving patients suffering from mental health issues or dementia.
Unite national officer for health Jacalyn Williams said, “This a troubling trend both for LGBTQ+ staff and ambulance crews that must be met decisively and the NHS violence reduction strategy is a step in the right direction to achieving that.
“Unite will be closely monitoring the government’s actions to prevent violence against all health workers and working with the Department of Health and NHS employers to ensure this unpleasant phenomenon is met with zero tolerance and stamped out.
“We also know that attacks against LGBT staff mirror prejudices held in wider society, which is why Unite raises awareness and campaigns for LGBT equality both in the workplace and outside out of it.”