There were 694 racist physical or verbal assaults reported against NHS hospital workers during 2012/13, according to alarming figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

This compares to 420 attacks in 2008/09.

NHS chiefs today described the rise as “shocking” and said the incidents would “appal every right-minded person”.

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I am a journalist and author. I am a staff writer at the UK edition of WIRED magazine and in 2015 my book, Freedom of Information: A Practical Guide for UK Journalists, was published. I created FOI Directory in 2012.