Level 2, H Block
The Princess Margaret Hospital
Telephone: 0064 3 364 4160
Fax: 0064 3 364 4101
22 April 2016
Email: [FYI request #3797 email];
Dear Ms Greenhalgh
Official Information Act request CDHB 9340
We refer to your email dated 22 March 2016 requesting the following information under section 12 of
the Official Information Act 1982.
I would like to know the figures around assault of staff members while working at the
Canterbury District Health Board, both physically and any reports of verbal abuse. I would like
figures from over the last year and any previous years to see if there has been an increase,
especially since the earthquakes. Any particulars such as whether they were punched,
scratched, spat at etc would be helpful if this information is available.
Verbal Abuse and Physical Assault Incidents Reported by Canterbury District Health Board Staff
Note: The data in Table One indicates a significant drop in reported staff incidents between 2014 and
There are a number of possible contributing factors to this sudden reduction including:
The discharge of patients responsible for a significant number of physical assaults on staff.
The targeted focus of the Safe Staff Committee on reducing patient assaults on staff.
A change to the reporting system for assault and abuse, combined with a transition period of
staff familiarity with the new system.
Staff may also encounter abuse as a consequence of a patient’s complex mental health status,
particularly in the SMHS forensic service where patients have a higher risk profile related to violent
offending in the context of their mental illness.
All staff adhere to Canterbury District Health Board [CDHB] policies on Health, Safety and Incident
Management (Appendix 1 and 2
attached) when dealing with abuse from patients and visitors. Staff are
encouraged to report any verbal or physical incidents promptly, which are then investigated and
appropriate recommendations are implemented.
We do not record incidents by severity as this would be too subjective because what one person
considers minor might have a more serious impact on another. We are therefore unable to provide
details such as whether staff were punched, scratched, spat at or kicked.
With all incidents staff are entitled to make a complaint with the police. Our ‘Complaint to Police (Staff
outlines the process for a staff member who wishes to lay a
complaint with police, following an incident for example, an assault.
The Canterbury DHB is committed to the wellbeing and safety of staff and patients within our hospitals
I trust that this satisfies your interest in this matter.
Carolyn Gullery General Manager,
Planning, Funding & Decision Support