A QUARTER of staff at Halton and Warrington hospitals have been abused by members of the public while 15 per cent have experienced physical violence from patients or their families according to new statistics.

Figures released in the latest National NHS Staff Survey showed that 23 per cent of Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust employees have experienced abuse from members of the public in the past year.

Of the 1,500 staff who completed the survey, 13 per cent said that they had been harassed, bullied or abused by their own managers while 15 per cent said they had experienced this type of behaviour at the hands of other colleagues.

Almost half, 48 per cent, said they did not report harassment, bullying or abuse the last time they experienced it.

Fifteen per cent of staff said that they had experienced physical violence from members of the public in the last 12 months, with many reporting that this had occurred more than 10 times within the year.

A small amount of staff said they had also been attacked by managers or other colleagues.

Some 21 per cent did not report physical violence the last time they experienced it.

Meanwhile nearly half of the trust’s employees, 47 per cent, believe that the hospital is understaffed.

Employees said that they had seen errors in the past month that could have harmed patients or staff.

But 59 per cent said that if they reported these incidents the trust would take action to ensure that repeat errors did not occur, while 57 per cent felt confident that their concerns would be addressed.

Nearly a third, 31 per cent, believed that communication between senior management and staff was ineffective while a similar amount said that senior managers do not act on staff feedback.

Similarly, 32 per cent of staff were dissatisfied with their current level of pay.

Michelle Cloney, Warrington Hospital's interim director of human resources and organisation development, said: "The trust is in the best 20 per cent of acute trusts for seven areas, including equal opportunities for career progression, staff reporting experience of violence, staff experiencing discrimination at work, reporting of errors or incidents, staff working extra hours, action on health and wellbeing and support from immediate line managers.

"The areas that we really need to focus on this year are improving the five lowest indicators - staff recommendation of the organisation as a place to work or receive treatment, effective team working, fairness and effectiveness of procedures for reporting errors, near misses and incidents, percentage of staff agreeing that their role makes a difference to patients and affective use of service user feedback.

"While the NHS staff survey compares the trust to the national average, we are striving to be better than the average acute trust and these results are an effective benchmark to review our progress, ensuring we focus on the right areas.

"The 2016 survey captures the first feedback following the major organisational restructure implemented across the organisation from April 2016.

"This saw the creation of eight new clinical business units, putting clinicians in the driving seat to decide and lead change centred around our patients.

"This structure had only been in place for six months when the survey data was collected, and we look forward to seeing the real benefits as this embeds in the 2017 survey."