Assaults up by a third on previous year, according to NHS England figures

Violent assaults against Northern Devon Healthcare Trust staff have increased by a third in the past year.

The total number was 171 for 2014-15, compared with 133 the previous year.

But of those, 163 were involving medical factors, meaning the person may not have been aware of what they were doing.

NHS England figures show eight incidents did not involve medical factors and there had been five declared cases of civil or administrative sanctions against those involved, but no criminal proceedings.

NDHT's own figures said actions had included 14 warning letters issued to people.

The trust said it believed the increase was partly due to previous incidents not being reported and followed its campaign urging staff to report all physical assaults.

Alison Diamond, chief executive, said: "We do not tolerate any form of violence or aggression directed towards our staff.

"We do everything we can to support staff, who have very clear policies and training to follow which assist them and ensure the wellbeing of our patients."