MORE than a quarter of workers at a hospital trust have suffered harassment, bullying and abuse from patients, research has shown.

It comes as Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote to all NHS staff, telling them “being assaulted or abused is not part of the job”.

Responses to the latest NHS Staff Survey showed 28.9 per cent of staff at the East Suffolk and North Essex Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital, had experienced abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public in 2019.

A further 15.7 per cent said they had experienced physical violence.

The survey also revealed 21.2 per cent of staff had experienced at least one incident of bullying, harassment or abuse from colleagues.

Mr Hancock said the NHS has joined forces with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to approve a Joint Agreement on Offences Against Emergency Workers.

His letter said: “I ask that you please ensure you report every incident and act of abuse or violence against you or a colleague. No act of violence or abuse is minor.”

The staff survey also revealed 40.9 per cent of staff at the trust said in the last 12 months they felt unwell as a result of work related stress.

A further 58.1 per cent said in the past three months they had come to work despite not feeling well enough to perform their duties.

There were 32.7 per cent of staff who said in the last month they had seen errors, near-misses or incidents which could have hurt patients. The survey showed 93.9 per cent who had seen an error reported it.

The report also highlighted 88.6 per cent of staff said their role makes a difference to patients and 74.3 per cent said they were enthusiastic about their job.

A total of 4,742 people responded to the survey.

A spokesman for the trust said: “We always encourage all of our staff to highlight and report all issues involving errors or incidents. There is an open and honest approach to reporting.

“Almost 94 per cent of staff who responded to the survey went on to say that once they had seen an error, near-miss or incident that they had reported it.”