The 28-year-old Harrow woman was shadowing a senior midwife during rounds at Northwick Park hospital maternity unit when, having been left alone in a room with a patient, she was grabbed by the head and thrown to the ground, ripping out a substantial amount of her hair. The RCM member had been unaware that the pregnant woman had previously exhibited psychotic symptoms.

She suffered two subdural haematomas, a serious condition where blood collects between the skull and the brain’s surface. She also had cuts and bruises to her hands, arms and knees. The midwife took two weeks off work, but when she returned to the ward she had an anxiety attack.

She was diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and needed a further seven months off work, during which time her GP organised for her to have weekly meetings with a psychologist.

A phased return to work was unsuccessful, as she continued suffering psychological issues because she was working near to where she was attacked, and she eventually decided to leave her job permanently.

She turned to her union and workplace assault specialists, Thompsons Solicitors, to investigate a claim for compensation.

She said: “I cannot fault the service I received from the RCM and Thompsons Solicitors. They kept me up-to-date throughout the whole legal process and listened to me when my employer would not.

“Although it’s not as bad now as it was a few years ago, my PTSD still causes me issues and I am not the confident person I once was. I’m not sure how long it will take for my anxiety to go away, if it ever will, but I’m hoping that I can keep improving and eventually return to midwifery.

“If it wasn’t for my union and the specialists at Thompsons Solicitors I would not have had the confidence to make this successful claim, vindicating me.”

Karen Edwards, regional head of the south of England at the RCM, said: “This has obviously been a traumatic experience for our member and I am glad that we have achieved this outcome for her. Trusts must do all they can to protect their staff, so that the chances of incidents like this happening can be reduced as much as possible. We were proud to represent her and ensure her voice was heard.”

Sharon Fleming, of Thompsons Solicitors, added: “While our client’s psychological issues have started to ease it has, understandably, taken years for her to reach this stage and it may take many more before she feels able to continue on her chosen career path.

“Staff safety should be a priority for all employers. Unfortunately, in this case, the hospital failed to adequately protect our client and she has been left with life-changing anxiety.”