Unions have called for an emergency summit to tackle the increasing violence in WA hospitals, in the wake of an attack on a nurse at the weekend.

The Health Services Union and United Voice WA said the Government needed to convene a summit as its “number one priority.”

HSUWA secretary Dan Hill said violence against members in public hospitals was increasing.

“It’s getting too high, it’s gone too far, and something needs to change,” he said.

“We’ve had piecemeal attempts in the past, we’ve had a zero tolerance policy in terms of violence against health workers for many, many years, yet it still continues.”

He wanted the summit to investigate whether the powers of security officers - who were putting themselves between violent patients and other employees - needed to be assessed and increased.

He also wanted staffing levels to be reviewed across all hospitals.

A 55-year-old nurse is recovering after being stabbed by a man with an improvised blade at Royal Perth Hospital on Sunday.

Police allege Justin Trent Narrier, 30, stabbed the nurse at about 1.30am after approaching her from behind. She suffered a deep wound to her neck. Narrier was left unguarded at RPH despite having been arrested earlier in the day over a separate serious assault.

United Voice Secretary Carolyn Smith the problem was widespread, from emergency departments to the aged care sector. She said frontline staff needed to be part of the solution.

“Our members can’t keep living with this issue. There are violent incidents unfortunately happening every day in hospitals, it can range from a drug affected person or someone with mental health issues presenting in ED,” she said.