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Hospital racial abuse up 65%, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde report highest number of incidents

Racial abuse against hospital workers has risen by 65% in just four years, figures suggest.

There were 694 racist incidents reported against NHS staff across the UK during 2012/13, according to data obtained by BBC Radio 5 Live.

This compares to 420 physical or verbal assaults on staff in 2008/09.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde reported the highest number of racist incidents, with 76 in 2012/13, according to the Victoria Derbyshire programme, which collated data from 133 NHS hospital trusts.

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: "The NHS can be a high-pressure environment and staff and their managers often work in stressful situations.

"In some places we have job vacancies and a rising demand for services, and the pressure to deliver care can be extraordinary. The fact that staff get racially abused should appal every right-minded person. With rising levels of violence against staff in the NHS, it's shocking that staff can also be subject to racial abuse.

"The NHS workforce is probably one of the most diverse in the country and our ambition is for that workforce to reflect the public and communities that it serves. We should be proud of that. And proud of the contribution that staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds make to the NHS.

"We know from research that diversity is important for patient care - and that a diverse workforce is a more productive workforce. Equally, we know that a contented, motivated workforce is also a more productive place. Therefore, it is right that any signs of inequality or discrimination - factors which can significantly affect motivation - are taken seriously."

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