ONE in four staff at the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust experienced bullying, harassment or abuse from patients last year, figures show.

Responses to the latest NHS Staff Survey show that 25 per cent of workers at the Salisbury NHS Trust said they had experienced the abuse from patients, relatives or members of the public in 2017.

A further 22 per cent said they had been verbally abused or harassed by a fellow member of staff.

Around 1,500 employees responded to the survey, which also asked workers about incidents of physical violence at work.

One in seven respondents said that they had experienced physical violence from patients, relatives or members of the public.

Healthcare workers union Unison said that anyone threatening or abusing NHS staff “should be prosecuted”.

Head of health Sara Gorton said: “No one should be abused, threatened or attacked at work - especially when all they’re trying to do is help people.” The government has now announced new measures to better protect health service staff in England, calling for a “zero tolerance” approach.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has introduced the first NHS Violence Reduction Strategy, a series of measures designed to safeguard NHS workers against deliberate attacks and abuse.

He said it was “unacceptable” health workers had been subjected to violence and aggression.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said that the NHS was partnering with the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to prosecute offenders quickly under a “zero-tolerance” approach.

The Care Quality Commission will be scrutinising individual trusts based on their plans to reduce violence against staff.

The DHSC also said that a new system for recording assaults, and other incidents of abuse or harassment. Trusts will be expected to investigate incidents thoroughly.