ATTACKS on hospital workers in Bolton have DOUBLED with hundreds being abused each year, shocking new figures have revealed.

The stats, which take into account physical and verbal abuse, have been described as “worrying and sad” as doctors and nurses work tirelessly in the town during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses at Royal Bolton Hospital say they have a zero tolerance approach and will take action where appropriate.

Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi said: “People who work in hospitals are protecting everyone when they are at their most vulnerable.

“They are dedicated staff, helping and treating us and this should not happen.

"The hospital workers have put their health at risk (during the pandemic) which makes this even more upsetting and sad.

“It is important to find out why there is a rise in assaults."

Figures released under a Freedom of Information request show there were 299 assaults, both physical and verbal, on workers at the hospital between June 2019 and May 2020.

That number is more than double the amount of assaults that were recorded two years before.

Out of the 299 assaults in the latest year of statistics, 169 of them were physical and the remaining 130 were verbal.

Between June 2017 to May 2018 there were a total of 146 assaults, which rose to 224 a year later.

The figures also found that this year there were 28 assaults in January, 50 in February, 14 in March, 13 in April and 17 in May.

Royal College of Nursing national officer for health and safety, Kim Sunley, said: “Physical assaults remain a fact of life for many health care workers, from A&E to community services.

"That’s why we campaigned tirelessly for a law making it a specific offence to assault health care staff who provide NHS funded care

“But this is not the end of the fight. These attacks do not happen in a vacuum, and improved staffing levels, properly funded services and better support from employers would help further mitigate the risk that too many health care staff run day in, day out.”

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust says it takes a strong stance on assaults against its employees.

Director of workforce James Mawrey said: “We take a zero tolerance approach to assaults against our staff, and always look to take action where appropriate.

“We continually monitor figures and where there is an increase, look to identify if there is an area where this is a particular problem and take any necessary steps to reduce this.”