NHS trusts across Lancashire have paid out more than £600,000 in damages after assaults on staff in the last five years, new figures reveal.

An investigation by LegalExpert.co.uk has found a total of 103 claims and incidents of NHS staff assaults were logged across four trusts in the county since 2019, with 39 claims being settled with damages.

Data obtained via Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to NHS Resolution reveals the biggest damages payouts in the county came from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, which amounted to £500,853 for a total of 33 staff assault claims.

The trust, which is based in Preston, had the third-highest total damages payouts for such claims out of 236 NHS trusts in England.

It provides mental health, learning disability, autism and community-based services.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) - which runs several hospitals including Royal Blackburn and Burnley General - and Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded 14 claims and incidents of staff assault but none that resulted in damages being paid out.

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust paid out a total of £101,590 for six staff assault claims, recording 10 claims and incidents since 2019.

Overall in England, the highest number of NHS staff assault claims was recorded at Mersey Care NHS Trust in the North West.

A total of 62 were lodged within Mersey Care since 2019 with the compensation paid out by the trust totalling £1,159,679 - the second highest in England.

Legal Expert solicitor, Patrick Mallon said: "These figures are extremely concerning. Nobody should have to feel threatened at work - especially hard-working, vital NHS staff.

“Something must be done to tackle abuse towards NHS staff who, for the majority, are just trying to do their jobs,”

The news comes amid responses to a separate FOI request that revealed there were at least 41,226 physical assaults on NHS staff working in hospitals in 2023, an increase on the previous year and a 21 per cent jump since 2019.

Around 14 per cent of NHS staff have self-reported that they have experienced at least one incident of physical violence from patients, service users, relatives or other members of the public in the last 12 months, according to the latest NHS staff survey.

The ambulance sector is the worst affected, with almost 50 per cent of paramedics experiencing physical abuse.

Ursula Martin, Chief Strategy and Improvement Officer at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We take the safety of our colleagues, patients and visitors extremely seriously and where safety incidents including assaults are reported, we undertake robust investigations and seek to learn from what has happened so we can ensure a safe environment for all on our wards, buildings and in our care.”

ELHT has been approached for comment.