Hospital staff in Weston-super-Mare are among the most likely in Britain to be assaulted - either by patients or visitors - while on the regions' wards, new statistics have revealed.
NHS figures listing the likelihood of staff being assaulted in hospitals and health care trusts showed seven of the top 20 worst places for violence were in the West.
Weston-super-Mare's health service was ninth, with 39 assaults per 1,000 members of staff.
Bristol's hospitals have seen the highest number of total assaults in the West, but using the nationally-used measure of assaults per 1,000 members of staff, they came off well compared to other local trusts.
Both Bristol trusts recorded a relatively low number of 23 assaults per 1,000 staff in the past year.
This makes them slightly worse than the national average of 21 per 1,000 staff, but better off than most other hospital trusts in the West.
North Bristol NHS Trust (which runs Southmead and Frenchay) recorded 204 total assaults, and UH Bristol (which runs the BRI and St Michael's) recorded 183.
Statistically, the third-worst hospital in the country - when not including mental health or ambulance trusts - was the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath which, even though only 21 assaults were reported in the past year, that represented 61 per 1,000 staff, the measure that is used nationally.
Wye Valley NHS Trust in Herefordshire was fifth worst, with 45 assaults per 1,000 staff, and Other West hospitals and health trusts to make the top 20 were Northern Devon, where 170 assaults were reported in the past year, at a rate of almost one every other day, and Yeovil District Hospital, where an assault on staff was reported every five days.
Across the country and in all health trusts, the number of criminal sanctions following reported assaults has risen by 201, from 1,257 to 1,458 – a rise of 15.9 per cent.
Overall, there was a rise of 5.8 per cent in total reported assaults from 59,744 in 2011/12 to 63,199 in 2012/13.
Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said today: “NHS staff should expect to be able to provide care in a safe environment, free from violence and physical assault. NHS Protect urges employers to take firm action in all cases of assault against NHS staff.
"We urge all NHS staff to report assault and acts of violence against them. Employers must do all they can to support staff in preventing incidents and pursuing offenders”.