To determine psychological morbidity among staff following actual or threatened violence from patients on acute psychiatric wards. A retrospective survey of all 156 clinical staff on Exeter's acute psychiatric wards was conducted by means of an anonymous questionnaire using standardised measures.
The response rate was 81%, and 72% of respondents had experienced one or more distressing incidents of actual or threatened violence within the previous year. The 12-item General Health Questionnaire and Impact of Events Scale scores were significantly higher in those who reported exposure to ‘frequent’ violent incidents.
Some National Health Service staff may be harmed psychologically when they are at work. This consequently may have implications for patient care, employer liability and recruitment.
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