THOUSANDS of nurses and doctors on the frontline of Covid care have been subjected to violence and aggression from patients and visitors, figures show.

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said there has been an upsurge in verbal and physical attacks during the pandemic and said it has been forced to draft in extra security to tackle the rise in incidents.

Since the start of March, around five months, staff have reported 2,300 attacks, which is said to be high given the reduction in the number of patients coming into hospitals during lockdown.

The highest number was recorded at Leverdale psychiatric hospital with 352 staff targeted while Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) - the largest in the board area - recorded 306 incidents.

In June a patient was arrested after an A&E doctor was attacked twice during the same shift at the QEUH.

READ MORE: Arrest after trauma doctor attacked twice in one shift 

Dr Claire McGroarty said she was verbally and physically assaulted by patients "under the influence of alcohol" on a Saturday night after lockdown restrictions were eased.

A total of 271 staff based at Gartnavel hospital reported verbal and physical attacks while at the city's Royal Infirmary, 220 incidents were reported.

The health board said there was a slight dip in the number of incidents at the start of lockdown in April but "unfortunately" incidents have been on the rise since then.

Anne MacPherson, Director of Human Resources added: “People behaving in a violent or aggressive way towards our staff or fellow patients can create a very frightening environment for our doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and support staff as well as other patients, who are trying to receive, in some cases, life-saving treatment.

"Our teams have worked tirelessly against COVID since March, they should not have to face a further struggle with violent and aggressive members of the public."

Dr Scott Davidson, Deputy Medical Director of Acute services, added: “Covid has brought a huge challenge for our clinical teams. 

"The virus has created significant new pressures; emotional pressure when supporting patients who cannot have visitors and see their families when they are desperately ill, combined with the physical pressure of carrying out their role.

READ MORE: Capacity concerns raised by health boards over increase in flu immunisations

“Our focus now has to be preparing for winter, ensuring we are equipped for any potential resurgence of Covid and enabling our teams to rest and recuperate. 

"Our staff shouldn’t have to worry about being subjected to violence as well."

Figures published last year by the board show there were 5,000 physical and verbal assaults from May 31 2018 to the end of May 2019.

They included 3,005 physical attacks, 13 incidents of sexual harassment and six cases of staff being stalked.