patient attacked nurse
december 17, 2004
a man has been warned he could be sent to prison for attacking an auxiliary nurse at the norfolk and norwich university hospital, causing her to be off work for seven weeks.
amanda daws suffered a badly sprained arm after being attacked by anthony dennis, of st peter's plain, great yarmouth.
the 34-year-old appeared before norwich magistrates and admitted assaulting ms daws, causing her actual bodily harm, and failing to attend an earlier hearing.
the court adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports.
granting him conditional bail in the meantime, chairman roy church warned dennis he could be locked up.
mr church said: "the facts in this matter indicate that it has to be treated seriously because the person involved was a nurse, who is a public servant to whom society owes a degree of protection.
"you caused an injury which meant that this nurse has had to take time off sick."
prosecutor stephen poole said ms daws was working on kimberley ward at the hospital on september 29 when she was assaulted.
dennis, who was a patient on the ward, kept being disruptive, was agitated and wandering around.
"he was rattling the next door patient's bed and interfering with other people's lockers," he said. another nurse took him away from the ward to the reception area, but he kept swearing and refused to be quiet.
dennis was eventually taken back to his bed, but continued to misbehave.
ms daws was needed to attend to some other patients, but when she returned, dennis was no longer in his bed.
according to mr poole, dennis then "jumped out from behind a curtain", grabbed ms daws by the shoulder, took hold of her arm and pulled it down.
when she screamed out in fright and pain, dennis let her go.
as a result of the assault, ms daws had a badly sprained arm and, in a statement read out to the court, said she had been signed off work until november 18.
shocking figures released last july revealed that 74 members of staff at the norfolk and norwich university hospital were assaulted by patients over the previous 12 months.
the attacks took place on 68 nurses, security guards, technicians and pharmacists at the £229 million colney complex.
the figure was slightly lower compared to the previous year (79 attacks), but hospital bosses have said they believed in a zero tolerance policy where violence towards staff was concerned.
andrew stronach, a spokesman for the hospital, said any attacks on staff would not be tolerated.
"we operate a zero tolerance policy here," he said. "violence towards staff is totally unacceptable in any way, shape or form.
"staff members come here to do a job and they should not have to put up with any physical or verbal abuse.
"we are pleased to see the police and court have taken action on this."
across the uk, there are about 260 attacks on health workers each day.
the government recently announced it was introducing conflict resolution training for frontline nhs staff which will teach workers how to spot a potentially dangerous situation and defuse it.