PHYSICAL violence remains a concern for health care workers, a study reveals.

A survey of staff at the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust found that 12% of staff were the victim of violence from patients or relatives.

Health care workers in the area are also working longer hours, with 65% doing over time.The figure is up by 2% compared with the 2006 Healthcare Commission survey.

However, it is below the national average and staff at the Trust responded positively to working life.

Julie Hull, the Trust’s director of personnel and development, said: “The Trust has been carrying out staff surveys since 2003 and year on year we have seen improvements in our scores in many areas.

“Staff opinions are important to us and I would like to thank everyone who returned their questionnaire.

“The survey is a valuable method of finding out what we are doing really well - so we can do more of it, and areas where we could do better - so we can develop action plans to address the issues raised.”

With more than 5000 staff, the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust sent the surveys randomly to 845 staff.

Of those 534 completed the questionnaires.

The report focused on 26 key areas which included work/life balance, training, learning and development, team working, supervision, communication and staff involvement and safety at work.

The survey is part of an annual investigation by the Healthcare Commission which saw 155,922 NHS employees take part throughout the UK.

Nationally, the survey highlighted the need for action to be taken to address violence and abuse, which research suggests is relatively high in the health sector, now at 13%.

Anna Walker, Chief Executive at the Healthcare Commission, said: “The results show that there are a lot of reasons to work in the NHS, including the satisfaction staff get from their jobs, the ability to work hours that suit through to real training opportunities.

“But there are challenges to making the NHS a better place to work.

“Some of those will be tough to crack because they are about the environment that the healthcare system operates in.

“We know that health workers are more likely to experience violence, harassment and abuse than workers from other sectors and the NHS has made a concerted effort to address this problem.

“Trusts must continue to step up to this challenge because it is unacceptable for NHS staff, who provide vital, often life-saving care, to be put in the position where they face violence and abuse as they go about their day-to-day work.”

The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust rated in the top 20% for positive feedback.