UNISON head of health, Christina McAnea, said:
“It is absolutely unacceptable that every day more than 173 NHS workers are physically assaulted and that only one in 40 cases results in a criminal sanction.
“Sadly, this is only the tip of the iceberg as violence on NHS premises remains an under-reported problem.
“No one should feel threatened at work. Our members work day in day out, providing life saving care despite the stresses caused by the Government’s attacks on the health service.
“We’re pleased that more people are being prosecuted for assaulting staff but much more still needs to be done to ensure the NHS provides a safe working environment.
“The cuts and resultant pressure on services are causing growing patient frustration especially in hospitals, and have significantly impacted on staff’s ability to cope.
“We also believe that the more staff are involved in decisions that affect both their safety and patient care the better equipped they are to deal with violence in the workplace.”