Lewisham: NHS worker left needing surgery after being ‘stabbed by patient’ at south London hospital

·2-min read
Uiniversity Hospital Lewisham (Google Maps)
Uiniversity Hospital Lewisham (Google Maps)

An NHS worker was stabbed by a patient at a south London A&E this week, requiring surgery.

The healthcare assistant, who works at Lewisham Hospital, was reportedly stabbed in the arm on Tuesday by a patient with a sharp object.

Staff at the trust had raised fears for their safety before the stabbing, according to Channel 4 News, which first reported the incident.

A source told the broadcaster: “A member of staff was attacked by a violent patient who stabbed him in the arm, sustaining a wound severe enough to require an operation under general anesthetic the following day.”

The unnamed colleague added: “We have for a long time been warning that it is really insecure in A&E and it sounds as if these have been falling on deaf ears.”

The patient behind the attack was arrested by police officers who happened to be dealing with another patient, said the source.

The victim was said to be recovering at home following surgery.

A spokesperson for the trust said body cameras would be piloted in A&E departments from next week, and that it had established a taskforce to tackle violence against staff.

“Like other NHS Trusts, we have been facing significant demand for our services and, sadly, rising levels of violence and aggression towards our staff – with some anger over the steps we need to take to keep people safe, such as asking visitors to wear face coverings,” said Jo Peck, joint acting Chief Nurse for Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

“We held staff focus groups over summer and subsequently invited all staff to join a taskforce to deal with this issue – steps taken in response include introducing additional 24/7 security support at our hospitals.”

Senior officials have visited other hospitals within the trust to hear from staff about the violence they face, hospital documents reveal.

This included a visit to two wards at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich last month, where a sub-contracted female member of staff was “violently assaulted” by a patient - only for her pay to be stopped because of her absence.

Staff “regard violence and aggression as a part of the job and seem to become desensitised to it,” states the report, which has been presented to a board meeting next week.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said a 38-year-old man had been charged with section 18 wounding with intent. He appeared at Bromley Magistrates’ court on Thursday and was remanded to appear at crown court next month.

The spokesperson said: “Police were attending Lewisham University Hospital on Tuesday 23 November on a separate matter, when at approximately 3.44pm a member of staff was stabbed in the upper arm. The male was quickly arrested at the scene. The victim’s injuries are not believed to be life-threatening or life-changing.”

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