COMMUNITY nurses in Huddersfield work in pairs to be safe when out at night, it has been revealed.
And other measures are in place to make sure health staff working in the community are protected.
Details of the measures came as it was revealed that more than six out of 10 community nurses have been verbally abused over the past two years.
The study by the Royal College of Nursing also found that 11% of nurses working in the community had been the victim of physical abuse.
Out of the 760 nurses questioned, 16% said their employer would not take action on verbal abuse, while a further 33% neither agreed nor disagreed.
And 6% felt their employer would fail to take action on physical abuse, while a further 21% neither agreed nor disagreed.
But the Locala partnership, which oversees the work of community nurses in Kirklees, insist that measures have been put in place to safeguard the staff.
Christina Quinn, director of clinical and operational services, said: “We have a risk management security policy in place.
“It covers both zero tolerance of any kind of abuse as well as lone working.
“All of our colleagues have access to this policy.
“We take our zero tolerance policy very seriously and when we do have incidents of abuse from patients or carers our senior managers will actively support front line colleagues to resolve this.”
The poll found that 55% of nurses were working outside normal office hours and felt less safe as a result.
However the Locala spokesman said: “Our front line colleagues who work out of hours always work in pairs.”
The study also found that nearly four in 10 nurses felt that the risks to lone workers had increased over the past two years.
And their reasons included the expectations of patients, and their relatives or carers as well as an increase in caseloads for nurses.
More than a third said the level of substance abuse among patients had also increased.
RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “I am utterly appalled that nurses continue to be subjected to violence.
“Nurses working alone in the community are vulnerable and are often without back up or immediate help close by. Out of sight should not mean out of mind.
“During these dark winter nights I expect that many nurses may feel even more at risk and this must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“No-one goes to work expecting to be assaulted and this is all the more upsetting when we consider that nurses are being attacked when they are trying to help people.”