Care workers suffered more than 6,000 violent attacks over the last five years, figures released by the GMB Union reveal.
The statistics, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed there were 6,034 violent attacks on care workers resulting in serious injury between 2013/14 and 2017/18. More than 5,000 of the carers were so seriously injured they had to take at least seven days off work.
A further 1,026 carers suffered a ‘specified’ injury – which can include fractures, loss of sight, brain damage, loss of consciousness, asphyxia, or amputation.
Violent attacks account for a third of reports for residential care workers – compared to just 7% of reports for all workers.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “Our members often tell us about the abuse they have to face at work – and these figures back them up.
“These statistics are the tip of the iceberg – they only include the most serious injuries, and our members have to deal with violence on a daily basis.
“But care work is much more than a job – our members love their work and want to carry on doing their best for those they look after.
“Unfortunately, our members are sometimes put under unacceptable pressure to keep working after an attack when they should be receiving care themselves.
“Care is crucial. For each of us individually, our parents, grandparents, kids, friends and neighbours, but too often the sector is overlooked and the people working in care treated less than the frontline professionals that they are.”
Lottie Galvin, Mental Health First Aider at online training provider iHASCO, said: “It’s crucial for care organisations to implement frameworks and procedures that will protect the wellbeing of their employees. If these statistics don’t improve (and quickly), how can we expect people to continue pursuing careers in this industry? Mental health training may not provide all the answers, but it does raise awareness and offer a much-needed change of perspective. It has the power to transform an organisation by empowering employees to take control of their mental health both at work and at home. By breaking the stigma that surrounds mental health and ensuring that it is spoken about openly and without judgement, the care sector will reap huge rewards now and in the long run.”