A MAN has been jailed after he "seriously assaulted" an NHS worker at a Southampton hospital during the coronavirus crisis.

Lee Welke, 34, assaulted a doctor at University Hospital Southampton's (UHS) emergency department on April 4.

The court heard how the attack on the doctor, who was working at the time of the incident, was subjected to a "serious assault" during the COVID-19 crisis at the hospital.

Appearing at Southampton Magistrates' Court, he pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker while working.

Welke, of Pen Y Cae, Resolven, Neath Port Talbort, was committed to prison for 56 days and ordered to pay £122 victim surcharge.

A spokesperson for University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are pleased a custodial sentence was served on this individual who assaulted staff members and caused much disruption.

“Not only is this behaviour extremely unpleasant and distressing, it causes an unnecessary distraction for staff who are already working so hard for patients without the added complication these acts bring.

“We will seek every opportunity for redress and sanctions through to prosecution for anyone who assaults our staff and offenders will be reported to the police on every occasion.

"We would like to thank Hampshire Police for supporting us with this case.”

The incident came just weeks after a emergency department senior sister, who works at UHS was racially abused and threatened by a group of teenagers as she walked home from a 12 hour shift on Monday, March 23.

The nurse, who has asked not to be named and is from the Philippines, was told “you brought coronavirus to our country”, “go home to China”, and “you’re awful” by a group of eight youths.

It was followed by an attack on an A&E nurse's car window.

On April 1, a nurse, understood to be a senior sister in A&E at the UHS, returned to her car on Tremona Road after a 13 hour shift.

She arrived to find that the back right-hand window had been completely shattered after an unknown offender reportedly struck the windows with rocks.