One-in-ten nurses have been attacked on home visits as violence surges against health workers
Overwhelmed: Four in 10 nurses felt the risks to lone workers have increased over the past two years due to a heavy case load
More than six out of 10 nurses have been verbally abused over the last two years while working in the community, a poll has revealed.
The survey for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) also found 11 per cent had been the victim of physical abuse.
Some 16 per cent of the more than 760 nurses questioned said their employer would not take action on verbal abuse, while a further third were uncertain.
Six per cent felt their employer would fail to take action on physical abuse, while a further 20 per cent were unsure.
Four in 10 nurses felt that the risks to lone workers had increased over the past two years.
Reasons included an increase in caseloads for nurses, 71 per cent, while more than a third said the level of substance abuse among patients had also increased.
The poll further found that 55 per cent of nurses were working outside normal office hours and felt less safe as a result.
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.
'While it is not surprising that respondents felt their employer would be more likely to take action as a result of physical rather than verbal abuse, it is still completely unacceptable that it should have to come to a nurse suffering physical violence before something is done.'