A POLICE officer was taken to hospital after he was assaulted by a patient at a Sunderland medical centre.
The officer was beaten about the face by the man after police were called to Fulwell Medical Practice in Ebdon Lane.
Staff at the practice had become increasingly concerned regarding the behaviour of the patient when he attended the centre at 3.30pm on Monday.
Workers called police and reported the disturbance, but when officers attended, the man turned violent and one of them was injured.
A man, in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of assault.
The incident has prompted concerns about medical staff coming face-to-face with violent patients while carrying out their jobs.
Trevor Johnston, head of health for Unison in the Northern Region, said: “In this case, the medical staff did the right thing and called the police.
“Workers know they are often dealing with patients who are agitated and under considerable stress.
“But there is never an excuse for an assault like this happening.
“With reductions in NHS staff, employees are often under great strain just trying to do their job.
“These type of situations also affect other patients who are waiting to be seen by doctors or nurses.”
Northumbria Police have put on extra patrols around the centre in a bid to reassure other patients and those living nearby.
Yesterday, police community support officer Jessica Hudson and Pc Peter Bell were in the area to offer a helping hand.
Inspector Dave Cole said: “We know residents in the area are concerned about this incident and I would like to reassure them we have extra officers in the area to answer any concerns they might have.
“The incident was dealt with quickly, officers attended and the man was detained.
“Although a police officer was injured during the incident, no members of the public or other people in the surgery were hurt.”
The injured officer was treated at Sunderland Royal Hospital and later discharged.
Ed Hinde, practice manager, said the medical centre did not wish to comment at this time.
Anyone concerned and would like to speak to an officer can ring police on 101 ext 69191 or approach an officer on patrol.