PANIC alarm sensors are to be placed in all areas of a Liverpool hospital after a sharp increase in attacks on staff.
The news comes as a Government Select Committee reveals the number of assaults nationally is on the rise and says more needs to be done to tackle the issue.
University Hospital Aintree has been forced to provide personal alarms for all staff after physical and verbal assaults increased by a third over a 12-month period.
Health chiefs are now issuing the infra red pinpoint devices, linked directly to security staff.
Mike Ryan, general manager of support services, said: "Initially the alarms were made available to accident and emergency staff and then sensors were introduced into areas where staff might feel vulnerable.
"The alarm makes no sound but pinpoints accurately where the person is.
"Security control can then radio security staff who can be on the scene within a few minutes."
Sensors have now been placed in the main hospital corridors, the doctors' residences and the lifts. The system also links to a number of static panic buttons.
Aintree Hospital is also planning to restrict access to the premises at night by using electronic entry passes.
The move comes as a report into violence in the National Health Service revealed more than 95,000 incidents of assault and aggression were reported by health workers across the country in 2001/02.
It said nurses and care workers were at higher risk of violence than staff in other fields.
The Public Accounts Committee called for the NHS and the Government to do more to cut the rising tide of aggression and violence.
At Aintree Hospital, physical and attempted assault has seen a slight drop - from 81 incidents between March 2001 and April 2002 to 78 the following year.
However, verbal abuse has almost dou-bled, from 55 incidents to 100 in 12 months.
The hospital claims this is in part due to the success of its campaign to encourage staff to report any problems.
Assaults on Merseyside paramedics have risen by 5pc, from 64 to 67 incidents.
Violence and verbal abuse has fallen by more than a third at Liverpool Women's Hospital, which prosecuted a patient who attacked a nurse last year. He received a six-month jail sentence.
The number of incidents fell from 58 to 37 in 12 months.
Wirral NHS Hospitals Trust has also seen a 21pc decrease in physical and verbal abuse towards its staff.
There were 228 incidents between March 2001 and April 2002, falling to 179 incidents the following year.
At the Countess of Chester Hospital, there were 84 fewer incidents in 2002/03, from 501 in the previous 12 months.