Police responded to 175 calls from NHS hospitals and centres in the UK a day according to new data, prompting calls to tackle a “major national problem”.
Figures obtained by Sky News from 30 UK police forces through a Freedom of Information request showed officers attended 64,728 incidents at NHS centres in 2013 - 1,700 more than in 2012.
While the figures did not include the Metropolitan Police area, they showed Greater Manchester Police attended 12,726 incidents and West Midlands received 7,132 calls in 2013, increases of 320 and 249 year-on-year respectively.
Northampton Chief Constable Adrian Lee, Association of Chief Police Officers’ (Acpo) lead for alcohol harm reduction, said many of the incidents were related to drinking.
He said: “There was a time when NHS staff, through good motivations and a sense of vocation, didn’t want to report crimes against people who were there to receive the service, but actually that’s not appropriate because it gets the message across that you can go to a hospital and behave inappropriately - well you can’t.”
Meanwhile, figures from NHS Protect released in November showed there had been 68,683 reports of assaults against NHS staff in the year to March 2014, prompting a leading nursing body’s chief to call for more action.
Royal College of Nursing chief executive Dr Peter Carter said: “Against 68,000 reported assaults last year, there were just 1,600 prosecutions. That’s lamentable. This is a major national problem and something needs to be done about it.”