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Tuesday, 26 April 2005 11:20
BNN: British Nursing News Online · www.bnn-online.co.uk
Nurses ask for protection from violence
Nurses have called on the main political parties to do more to tackle the increasing levels of violence against NHS staff.

Speaking at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference, delegates called for attacks on hospital staff to carry the same punishment as assaults on police officers.

They asked politicians to make a clear statement that violence against workers delivering a public service would not be tolerated.

National figures show that NHS staff suffered more than 116,000 violent attacks last year while a conference survey suggested 64 per cent of delegates had been attacked.

The conference heard how one nurse, Amy Gold, had been stabbed with a syringe leaving her with long-term nerve damage and psychological problems that nearly ended her career.

Health spokesmen from the tree main political parties addressed the conference and promised to tackle the issue of violence against nurses.

Health minister John Hutton said the Government would bring more prosecutions with the NHS Security Management service using the Crown Prosecution Service and police or, if needed, private prosecutions.

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said a Conservative government would make attacks on NHS staff aggravated offences with tougher penalties but would consult on whether such attacks would be arrestable crimes.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Paul Burstow promised legislation with consultation on the technicalities.

Yesterday it was revealed that nursing recruitment would soon have to double just to maintain current staffing levels. Violence in the workplace was one of the main reasons cited for nurses leaving the profession.


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