More than 60 per cent of community nurses have suffered abuse in the last two years, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has claimed.

The RCN says that six in 10 nurses had suffered verbal abuse, while one in 10 had been the victims of physical abuse, following a survey of nearly 800 members on issues around lone working.

Additionally, half of those who responded felt their employers would not take action over verbal abuse, while more than 25 per cent felt they wouldn't take action in cases of physical abuse.

Those working outside of normal office hours also felt more unsafe than those with a traditional 9-5 role.

RCN chief executive and general secretary, Dr Peter Carter, said: "I am utterly appalled that nurses continue to be subjected to violence. Nurses working alone in the community are vulnerable and are often without back up or immediate help close by - out of sight should not mean out of mind. During these dark, winter nights I expect that many nurses may feel even more at risk and this must be addressed as a matter of urgency. No one goes to work expecting to be assaulted and this is all the more upsetting when we consider that nurses are being attacked when they are trying to help people.

"While it is not surprising that respondents felt their employer would be more likely to take action as a result of physical rather than verbal abuse, it is still completely unacceptable that it should have to come to a nurse suffering physical violence before something is done."

The Suzy Lamplugh Trust offers help and information to lone female workers

Posted by Robert Mair on 5/1/2012