Violence against NHS staff from colleagues

The staff pledges, part of the NHS Constitution, define what the NHS expects from staff and what staff can expect from NHS employers. One of the pledges is to provide support and opportunities for staff to maintain their health, wellbeing and safety.

What do staff report about violence they experience from colleagues and managers?

Nationally, the percentage of staff who said they had experienced physical violence from colleagues or managers in the previous 12 months is very low and remained static at around 1% to 2% between 2004 and 2011.

Although there appears to be a more than two-fold increase in the percentage who said they'd experienced physical violence from colleagues or managers between 2011 and 2012 (1.09% in 2011 to 2.83% in 2012), the way in which respondents could answer the question changed in 2012, making it more sensitive. This means that data from 2012 onwards cannot be compared directly to previous years.

Ambulance staff reported experiencing more violence compared to the other sectors shown between 2004 and 2011. However, when the question changed in 2012 the percentage was very similar to the national average. At the same point, staff from mental health & learning disability trusts reported more violence compared to other sectors, but this has been reducing over the last five years. In 2016 mental health and learning disability staff again reported experiencing the most violence compared to other staff groups, with 2.5% experiencing violence.

Updated April 2017.

About this data

For further information please see the NHS England, NHS Staff Survey. The data is unweighted. Between 2003 and 2009 the question was asked about managers/supervisors and colleagues separately. In 2012 the question became more sensitive to responses due to the amendment of the response options.

National averages include other organisations outside of the sectors shown in the charts, for example PCTs and CCGs.

In 2015 extra categories were created for acute trusts and mental health & learning disability trusts that are combined community trusts. Where these trusts were previously coded as either acute trusts or mental health & learning disability trusts the analysis included them in the categories they were previously in.


Dear Quality Watch

I have just come across your new resource. I think it is well put togother and has some useful ideas. I work as Policy Manager for NHS Employers. I would though questiont the inclusion of the question on violence between staff as a measure. The level are so low that the results are highly questionable in my view as an indicator. I am not sure how it is related to quality. There are other indictators in the staff surveyt that I think are better proxies for quality e.g. those questions that relate to staff perception of quality. I would be happy to comment further. I am not sure the working conditions question is the best one either.

steven weeks (not verified)
(changed )

Dear Steven

Thank you for your feedback. We will take your comments into consideration in our future developments of the indicators.

Kind regards.

QualityWatch Team (not verified)
(changed )

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