SALFORD mental health staff are feeling “pressured” a local NHS nurse reveals after figures show two out of five NHS mental health workers have been abused or attacked by a patient over the past year.
Despite Salford spending the most in Greater Manchester on mental health services, 56-year-old mental health nurse, Alison Flanagan, says: “There are still a lot of reductions in mental health services and it has had a massive impact.
“It doesn’t surprise me that the assault figures are going up because of the pressures on the services. There is not a lot of staff around- people are doing as best as they can but we can only do so much.”
Figures from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) show that on average five suicides a week were registered in Greater Manchester in 2014, and that there were 10,495 beds-based inpatients out of every 100,000.
“I’ve been in nursing for around 30 years and I can remember all of the things that have happened. I have been punched in the nose. I’ve had my hair pulled. I’ve been kicked. I have actually known people who have been seriously injured.” Alison said.
In 2014/15 Salford spent above 40 million pounds on mental health services, in comparison to only around 20 million in Bury. Oldham and Bury are amongst those who spent below average.
Alison added that she believes staffing needs to be looked at in particular, as that may be the reason why staff assaults are rising. She said: “We ideally should be going out on home visits in twos, but a lot of the time there’s not enough staff around. Patients can start to feel isolated and then that’s when we struggle.”
In the new report called Struggling to Cope done by Unison, 42% of mental health staff said they had been victims of violence in the last year.
Alison claimed her team have training annually on how to deal with assaults, but when faced with these situations it doesn’t always help and that other problems need to be reviewed.
Reported by BBC, health bosses say violence on NHS staff is “completely unacceptable” after it was revealed assaults in the UK have increased from 33,620 in 2012-13 to 42,692 last year.
For the full interview with Alison, listen on Soundcloud: