Cuts to mental health leave staff facing violence and aggression, says UNISON
A recent UNISON survey of staff working in mental health service has revealed that
mental health services have been hit hard by cuts to NHS funding, which has a damaging effect on service users and staff. The new publication reports that Service users have been struggling to access the help they need, while mental health staff working in under-resourced areas are left vulnerable to violence and aggression, and unable to provide the level of care needed.
The report, Struggling to Cope, is based on a survey of over 1,000 mental health employees across the UK, who work in a range of roles – with children and adults in hospitals, in secure units and out in the community.
More than two in five (42%) said they had been on the receiving end of violent attacks in the last year. Over a third (36%) said they had witnessed violent incidents involving patients attacking their colleagues.
While the majority (86%) felt they had the knowledge and training to carry out their work safely, more than a third (36%) said they had seen an increase in violent incidents in the past year.
Mental health workers blamed staff shortages (87%) and the overuse of agency staff (49%) as the main reasons behind the rise in violent attacks.