A joint agreement between police, prosecutors and the NHS in England will promote the strongest possible action in dealing with violence and abuse against healthcare staff.
NHS Protect has signed a three-way agreement with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to curb violence and anti-social behaviour in the NHS.
The three parties agree that there is strong public interest in prosecuting anyone who assaults NHS staff or commits offences that disrupt NHS services. All three will encourage individual police services, CPS areas and NHS bodies to seek the strongest possible action against offenders.
Richard Hampton, Head of Local Support and Development Services at NHS Protect, said today: "This welcome agreement ensures that the commitment made at the top of our three organisations is put into practice locally, so that we act together to support NHS staff, who have a right to a safe and secure working environment. Violence and abuse against them is highly disruptive for the delivery of treatment to patients and cannot be tolerated."
Figures released early in November by NHS Protect show that sanctions taken against those who assault NHS staff have increased by almost a quarter on last year.
A total of 1,397 criminal sanctions were applied following cases of assault in 2010-11, compared to 1,128 applied over the previous year, an increase of almost 24%. In 2010-11 there were 18,060 reported physical assaults against NHS staff in England that did not involve medical factors. This is a 19% decrease on the figure for 2009-10, which was 22,381. In total 57,830 physical assaults were reported against NHS staff in England in 2010-11, compared with 56,718 in 2009-10.